Alzheimer’s disease sixth leading cause of death in SC

State - Regional

The Alzheimer’s Association reported that 5.8 million people in the nation are suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. South Carolina has 92,000 of those people and falls at number eight when it comes to the highest Alzheimer’s deaths.

Every 65 seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Associations Facts and Figures report for 2019 stated that many seniors fear telling their doctors about their memory problems.

The report showed that only four out of ten seniors voice those concerns. For that reason, many individuals and families are unable to prepare properly for Alzheimer’s care expenses.

According to the Director of Communication and Advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association, Taylor Wilson, having the disease can catch people by surprise.

“It’s very expensive typically for families that are middle class. We watch people unable to access medicaid and family members have to go in and mortgage their homes to be able to go pay for care. With that being said, the early detection, while it is scary, it is necessary because it provides so many benefits,” Wilson said.

In South Carolina, an estimated $613 million is spent on Alzheimer’s Medicaid care a year. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that number will go up by 2025.

Wilson said she understands the importance of early detection after watching her grandmother get diagnosed with it.

“We were a little concerned. She was starting to repeat herself. She seemed to still be able to drive and go the grocery store, but what we ended up finding out after my grandfather took a fall is that they were both hiding very severe cognitive decline.”

Doctors recommend that individuals around the age of 65 start getting regular cognitive assesments. Although there are no known treatments, doctors believe the side effects can be made better.

“Identifiying early to prevent things. Right now, we are just on the cusp of figuring out are there treatments, certaintly physical activity has shown to be useful in treating and possibly preventing Alzheimer’s as well,” said Dr.Joseph Hoyle from Hope Health in Florence.

Dr.Hoyle suggested that individuals facing memory issues talk to their physician about it or contact the Alzheimer’s Association.

On their website, individuals can learn all about the disease and access their 24/7 helpline. 

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