Numbers recently made available on an Indiana State Department of Health website show a significant increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease among Hoosiers.
In 2011, just more than 2,000 Alzheimer’s deaths were recorded in Indiana. But in 2015 – the most recent year with state data – that figure had climbed by more than a quarter, to more than 2,500.
Natalie Sutton is Executive Director at the Alzheimer’s Association of America’s Greater Indiana chapter and says part of that may be due to a stagnation in how the condition is treated – especially when compared to breakthroughs made in the treatment of other diseases.
“For some of those other disease states, there are new, effective treatments and we haven’t seen new developments and research in recent years,” Sutton says.
Sutton says an aging American population is also being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at a great rate than ever before, and that’s helped make people more likely to identify themselves as suffering from the disease.
“The number one risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is aging," she says. "So we are seeing the Baby Boomer population beginning to get in that older range and we’re seeing an increase in cases, not just deaths.”
Unlike other chronic diseases, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s. In fact, scientists still aren’t sure what causes it in most patients.