The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.5 million people – 1 in 10 individuals – age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s. An estimated 200,000 people under 65 have the disease, although this number may be underreported, according to the Concord Monitor.
In the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2018 annual report released last month, officials wrote that there is “greater uncertainty” about estimates for younger-onset groups.
That uncertainty began as early as 2006, when the Alzheimer’s Association released a report titled “Early Onset Dementia: A National Challenge, a Future Crisis.”
“There ... remains an inadequate amount of data available on the actual number of early onset individuals and their condition,” the report concluded.
“Additional research is needed to develop a more precise figure, but the proposed range provides a plausible first estimate and indicates that the number of Americans with dementia that first occurs before age 65 is much higher than is generally acknowledged.”
But despite the call for additional research on younger-onset groups, the numbers in the last 10 or more years haven’t changed much. It can be very difficult for someone under 65 to receive an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. A correct diagnosis can take connections, money and years of persistence.
In New Hampshire, most younger-onset patients are diagnosed by specialists in Boston. Dr. Bradford Clark Dickerson at Massachusetts General Hospital said he’s had 125 patients over the last decade from the Granite State.
Read more at the Concord Monitor.