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Keywords:

  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • mortality;
  • chronic disease control;
  • aging population

Objectives

To update and examine Alzheimer's disease–related mortality trends according to age, sex, race and ethnicity, geography, and other case characteristics for a 10-year period.

Design

Trend and comparative analyses of the U.S. multiple-cause-of-death records for 1999 to 2008.

Setting

United States.

Participants

Participants were decedents with Alzheimer's disease (AD) coded as underlying or associated cause of death; decedents with other forms of dementia or cognitive disorder were excluded.

Measurements

Case frequency, age-specific death rates, and crude and age-adjusted mortality rates were estimated for all AD decedents from the sampled period. Measures of AD mortality burden were compared with those of other leading causes of death (e.g., diabetes mellitus, stroke).

Results

From 1999 to 2008, 879,281 AD-related deaths were identified. The age-adjusted mortality rate for AD increased from 45.3 per 100,000 population (95% confidence interval (CI) = 45.0–45.7) in 1999 to 50.0 per 100,000 population (95% CI = 49.7–50.3) in 2008. The average age at death was 85.9. Differences in AD-related deaths varied according to sex, race and ethnicity, and geography. The number of AD-related deaths and age-specific mortality for persons aged 85 and older (n = 532,338, 1,096.6 per 100,000 population) were comparable with those from the same age group who died from diabetes mellitus (n = 488,593, 1,006.5 per 100,000 population).

Conclusion

The burden of AD-related mortality was substantial for the period 1999 to 2008. This burden is expected to grow rapidly as the baby boomer generation ages. Findings from this study may have important implications for present and future planning in medicine, social services, public policy, and public health.