Almost 14 million Americans expected to suffer from Alzheimer’s by 2050

These days, many Americans know someone who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, or at least know someone whose elderly relative has been diagnosed with the illness. According to a report recently published in Neurology, those numbers are likely to increase at a rapid pace over the next few decades.

The article predicted that the number of patients with Alzheimer's in the United States will triple in size by 2050. Currently, there are approximately 4.7 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. By 2050, the report estimated that almost 14 million adults in the United States will have Alzheimer's disease. Of those, approximately 7 million will likely be adults over the age of 85.

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia, most often found in elderly adults. The disease affects brain cell connections, ultimately leading to brain cell death. Consequently, Alzheimer's patients experience symptoms involving memory loss and confusion. Other symptoms of Alzheimer's include:

  • Disorientation
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Decision-making problems
  • Personality or behavioral changes

There are no cures for Alzheimer's, although some medications have been identified that may slow the progression of symptoms. Unfortunately, the medications do not seem to work in every case and only for a certain amount of time. In addition, they are typically most helpful if started early on in the progression of the disease.

Early-onset Alzheimer's on Compassionate Allowances list

Currently, early-onset Alzheimer's is one of the diseases listed on the Compassionate Allowances list for Social Security disability benefits. Early-onset Alzheimer's affects adults under the age of 65, most often those in their 40s or 50s. According to the Alzheimer's Association, approximately 4 percent of all Americans with Alzheimer's disease suffer from early onset.

As Alzheimer's is typically associated with older individuals, early-onset symptoms are often overlooked by medical professionals. Physicians do not know why many early-onset cases occur, but they have identified a rare gene in certain individuals who have been diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer's.

Early-onset Alzheimer's was added to the Compassionate Allowances list in 2010. The list allows individuals suffering from specific diseases or illnesses to receive quick determinations regarding their Social Security disability claims. Medical conditions are added to the list when it is determined that they clearly qualify as a "disability," as defined by the Social Security Administration.

Individuals with younger-onset Alzheimer's follow the same procedure to apply for Social Security disability benefits; however, the processing of their applications is expedited.

If you or a loved one suffers from Alzheimer's disease, consulting with a skilled SSDI attorney will ensure your rights are protected.