Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have risen dramatically in recent years, new government health data shows, and more Americans are dying from the illness at home.
Over a 16-year period, between 1999 and 2014, death rates from Alzheimer’s disease increased almost 55 percent, according to findings published Thursday in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“We’ve known for some time that the number of Alzheimer’s disease deaths have been going up and that can in some way be attributed to the fact that we have a growing number of aging adults in America. Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease,” report author Christopher Taylor, an epidemiologist with the CDC, told CBS News.
During that same time period, Taylor said an increasing percentage of people with the illness died at home instead of in medical facilities, a shift from years past.
The majority of Alzheimer’s deaths took place in a nursing home or longterm care facility, but that figure declined from 67.5 percent in 1999 to just over 54 percent in 2014. Alzheimer’s deaths in hospitals dropped from 14.7 percent to just 6.6 percent.