Local News

Alzheimer's now third leading cause of death in Washington State

SPOKANE, Wash. - Alzheimer's is now the third leading cause of death in Washington State, according to a study from the Alzheimer's Association. 

Both the number of Alzheimer's patients and the cost of caring for those patients are growing exponentially in our state. 

"It's crazy that you have a disease that's taking off like wildfire, and we need to find a cure for it," said Leslie Woodfill, the walk manager for the Alzheimer's Association Washington Chapter.

Alzheimer's is expected to cost more than $517 million in 2019. The cost of caring for those with the disease has climbed for more than three years around the country.. 

"This care is skyrocketing and is going to be in the trillions of dollars. That's frightening to think about when you're trying to plan for the future," said Woodfill.

So, it's important that as we get older we're getting tested for the disease. According to the Alzheimer's Association, only 16% of people get regular cognitive testing with their checkups. 

"Early detection is primary. When you're just starting to see symptoms, to get to your doctor, to get to your neurologist to get the proper diagnosis," Woodfill said.

And you can check for some common warning signs. Those include losing things and being unable to retrace your steps. You may have trouble with daily tasks. Those with Alzheimer's may also become prone to giving money away to phone scammers and telemarketers. And look for big shifts in mood. 

If you notice these symptoms, get yourself or a loved one to a doctor right away.

And remember, the disease doesn't only affect the elderly. 

"Not necessarily everybody who develops this is elderly. There's people who are 29 years old that've been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or some dementia," said Woodfill.

You can see more of the Alzheimer's warning signs by clicking here.


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