Alzheimer’s and Population Growth
The world’s population is increasing, and it will continue to grow as far as scientists can tell. Thinkers over the centuries have often relied on gloomy predictions of population growth, claiming that populations will ultimately put too much pressure on their environments which will result in food shortages or environmental collapse. Yet, as we are well into the year 2018, populations are continuing to grow well past the doom and gloom predictions from thinkers and scientists many years ago, although we do face certain environmental and health challenges. Yet, finding solutions to deal with an increasing population does not mean we can avoid all problems. One of the biggest issues health professionals and policy makers are watching out for is the increase in degenerative neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s.
Degenerative Neurological Disorders & Research
It is estimated that by the year 2050, the global population of dementia patients will increase four-fold, from 35 million people worldwide to 115 million people. Dementia is a degenerative neurological disorder that degrades portions of the brain that can affect a person’s memory, speech, behavior, sleeping patterns, and many other aspects of their life. In 2018, Alzheimer’s costed the United States $277 billion, and in 2050 that cost is predicted to rise to $1.1 trillion. Today, around 1 in 9 people in the U.S. age 65 or older has Alzheimer’s disease. All this being said, dementia is a huge public health concern all over the world, and not all countries have the necessary resources to support such a burden. As a result, researchers, policy makers, and scientists need to work together for a better future where the appropriate institutions are in place to address those impacted by the disease.
More research, finances, and efforts need to be used now in order to establish preventative measures. This can range from programs that promote physical exercise and diet to less obvious preventative measures, like greater access to educational throughout one’s life. One of the best ways to push for preventative care is to educate health professionals on how they can educate patients about their risk for Alzheimer’s and what specific changes patients can make to lead healthier lives, as well as where to find those resources.
Another area of research that will likely continue to grow is in the links between genetics and Alzheimer’s. Not only will this give us insight into what are the fundamental causes to the disease, but this research may also give us a clue into how to treat and eventually cure it.
As the global population continues rise, more pressure will be put on countries to face the challenges that Alzheimer’s and related dementias pose. But, with the necessary support from governments and research institutions, we can find solutions sooner than later.
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