Alzheimer’s on the Rise in Illinois

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An estimated 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease in 2018, and that includes 220,000 in Illinois.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder and it is the most common form of dementia. So 60-80 percent of cases is Alzheimer’s disease,” explained Hadi Finerty, the senior manager of education and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter.

In a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association, data shows the rapid increase in cases of the fatal disorder in our state.

“What we’re seeing is the baby boomers are starting to age so what’s starting to happen is they’re getting older and we’re going to start seeing the population developing Alzheimer’s or dementia,” said Finerty. “But right now there is no prevention or cure. So it’s kind of a question mark for why it progresses.”

And support has been strong in our community. Every Fall Naperville’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s has been the second largest in Illinois and the 35th largest in the country. Last year the walk raised over $445,000.

Continuing to fund studies in this way has helped researchers find possible preventative measures for Alzheimer’s.

“And what we’re starting to notice is diet and nutrition plays a factor and then physical health and exercise is another piece to the component,” explained Finerty. “They say average adults need two hours and 30 minutes a week. And then social engagement – we know that people don’t do well in isolation, so get out there. And then the last piece is our cognitive activity, so mentally stimulating activity.”

And support for the fight against the disease is coming all the way from Washington. Recently President Trump signed into law a $414 million increase for Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding.

“So we’re hoping that that’s -I don’t want to say a cure – but we’re hoping down the line – the National Alzheimer’s plan is by 2025 to find some kind of preventative measures to the disease,” added Finerty.

The Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter will be putting on this year’s Naperville Walk To End Alzheimer’s on September 16.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.