A new report finds that one in three seniors is dying with dementia.
The study, released by the Alzheimer's Association on Tuesday, highlights the impact the mind-destroying disease is having on the rapidly aging population.
Researchers found only 30 percent of 70-year-olds who don't have Alzheimer's are expected to die before their 80th birthday. But 61 percent are expected to die, if they do have dementia.
Jennifer Weuve with Chicago's Rush University and the Chicago Health and Aging Project tracked the health of more than 10,000 older adults over time. Weuve's team used the data to estimate how many people nationally will die with Alzheimer's this year and they determined the number is about 450,000.
Alzheimer's patients can forget their medications for diabetes, high blood pressure or other illnesses. They may not be able to explain they are feeling symptoms of other ailments such as infections and they are also far more likely to be hospitalized than other older adults. That in turn increases their risk of death within the following year.
According to the study even when dementia isn't the direct cause of death, it can be the final blow, speeding someone's decline by interfering with their care for heart disease, cancer or other serious illnesses.
Currently 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. Those numbers are expected to jump to 13.8 million by 2050.