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A Third of U.S. Seniors Die With Dementia: Study

Report tallies enormous medical, financial and caregiver toll of conditions like Alzheimer's

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Dr. Brian Appleby, a physician with the Center for Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic, said he wasn't surprised by these latest figures.

"Alzheimer's is going to affect all of us individually. Soon, we'll all have someone we know or someone in the family or even ourselves with Alzheimer's disease. It's something we all need to be prepared for," Appleby said.

He said that while current treatments won't cure or reverse the disease, they can increase the amount of time until someone needs nursing home care. Right now, he said, the focus is on trying to prevent Alzheimer's disease from occurring.

"Alzheimer's disease is really a chronic illness. It starts decades before we see the symptoms," Appleby said. The best advice to potentially prevent Alzheimer's disease is to keep your heart healthy, he said. That means quitting smoking, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise. It also means staying active mentally, he added. Do crosswords and other puzzles, and read, he advised.

And, stay socially active, he recommended. "People who are socially isolated are at a greater risk of Alzheimer's disease," Appleby said.

For her part, Kallmyer added: "Alzheimer's is impacting so many people already, and the impact is significant. And, as the baby boomers age, the rate of Alzheimer's and the death rate from Alzheimer's is only going to increase."

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