Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Symptoms often begin to appear after age 60 and can make performing even the simplest of tasks difficult. It is the most common cause of dementia among the elderly.
Dr. Zaven Khachaturian, president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, explains that since people are living longer, the rate of Alzheimer’s is increasing.
“We are facing a healthcare tsunami with 78 million baby boomers who are going to live beyond age 90 and 100,” Dr. Khachaturian says. “The prevalence goes up with age, so if the current life expectancy of baby boomers continues, 60 to 70 percent of current baby boomers probably already have the disease.
“The good news is we are making rather rapid progress in understanding the disease, developing treatments,” he continues. “We’re even beginning to formulate a national strategic plan to prevent the disease by 2020.”