CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - As Americans live longer and grow older, Alzheimer's Disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the country.
The Centers for Disease Control reports says in 2014, nearly 2,000 people in the Palmetto State died from the disease. South Carolina now has the third-highest rate of Alzheimer's Disease in the country and that's startling.
It is a cruel and heartbreaking disease; not only to those with the disease but also the caregivers.
We all know someone, friends or family, who has been affected.
Alzheimer's Disease strikes one in 10 people age 65 and older and as many as half of those over 85.
Almost two-thirds of those with the disease are women. African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to get the disease.
When it comes to the pain, cost, and heartbreak, it doesn't matter our race or gender.
There is no cure, and what drugs and treatments that are available have shown limited effectiveness. Right now, more than five million Americans, including 79,000 South Carolinians, or 11 percent of the state's senior citizens — are living with Alzheimer's Disease.
As the population ages, that number could reach 120,000 by 2025.
What can we do? Show compassion and understanding. Support research. And pray for advanced treatment and even better, a cure.