You may have heard of the term dementia. Although dementia is not a specific disease, it is an umbrella term for impaired decision making, memory, and thought (per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Alzheimer's disease is the most prevalent form of dementia, accounting for up to 80% of all dementia cases.
Healthline says that Alzheimer's disease causes an accumulation of inflammatory proteins in the brain, which leads to the impairment of neurons. The results can affect a person's ability to think, talk, and even make decisions. People with Alzheimer's disease often need help with their day-to-day living.
According to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation, more than 6 million American adults aged 65 and up have the brain disease, and that number is expected to more than double by 2051. Alzheimer's disease is also costly. It is estimated that the disease, alongside other forms of dementia, will cost the United States upwards of $321 billion dollars in 2022 (per Alzheimer's Association).
Further, Alzheimer's disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 134,242 deaths (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Rates of Alzheimer's are different in each state, with some parts of the United States facing exceptionally higher rates than others. In 2021, New York, Maryland, and Massachessuets had the lowest death count from Alzheimer's disease, with New York at 13.6 deaths per 100,000 people, Maryland at 16.2, and Massachusetts at 17.7. On the other side of the coin, Washington, Alabama, and Mississippi topped the nation in deaths. Washington registered 45.5 deaths per 100,000 people, while Alabama had 46.8. Mississippi registered a total of 52.8 deaths per 100,000 people.
According to Healthline, Alzheimer's disease is more common in women, whose risks are about one in five. On the other hand, men have an estimated one in 10 risk. Notably, according to World Population Review, the state of Mississippi's gender ratio is predominantly female (51.5%). Further, Mississippi has the highest self-rated obesity prevalence for adults in the United States, coming in at 39.7% (per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Alabama also ranks third on that list at 39%. Obesity increases the risk of developing dementia, says National Institute on Aging.
Mississippi is currently in year two of a five-year plan to support research, increase awareness, enhance care, support caregivers, and improve brain health for residents with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (per alzimpact.org).