The rate of people dying from Alzheimer’s disease in the United States has increased by 55 percent over the last 15 years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN reported.
Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, mainly affects people over the age of 65, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease. That number is expected to rise to 16 million by 2050.
CDC researchers studied data from state and county death certificates to determine whether Alzheimer's disease was the underlying cause of death.
The death rate of people with Alzheimer’s between 1999 and 2014 rose from 16.5 deaths per 100,000 people to 25.4 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the CDC’s weekly morbidity and mortality report.
Areas of with the highest rates were in the Midwest, Southeast and West Coast, CNN reported.
The rise in the number of Alzheimer’s-related deaths could be due to the increasing size of the older population, a higher diagnosis rate in early stages, better reporting by physicians and fewer deaths from other diseases in elderly people.