The Growing Epidemic of Alzheimer’s Disease

Every 3 seconds, one person worldwide develops dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) contributes to 60–70% of cases of dementia. An estimated 5.9 million Americans live with the disease today, while the global total is about 44 million; these numbers are likely to reach 13.8 million in the U.S. and 131.5 million worldwide by 2050. AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., with a 146.2% increase as a cause of death between 2000 and 2018.

Per-person health care costs in 2019 for patients with AD averaged $50,201, compared to $14,326 for patients without AD. Total annual healthcare costs in the U.S. related to AD are likely to rise exponentially from $305 billion in 2020 to more than $1.1 trillion by 2050. Researchers have estimated that treatments introduced in 2025 that delay the onset, or modify the natural history, of the disease by one to five years would reduce total health care costs by 33% and out-of-pocket expenses by 44% in 2050.