September is Healthy Aging Month, which is focusing national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. Based on current life expectancy trends, older Americans will begin to comprise a larger portion of the U.S. population. As a result, there will be more Americans diagnosed with diseases and conditions that typically affect the elderly.
Who are Baby Boomers?
Those of the Baby Boomer generation, identified as people ages 51-69 (born after World War II), represent 74.9 million Americans, according to the Pew Research Center, making them the second-largest generation in the country.
Aging Baby Boomers and Disease
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. One in three senior citizens dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
While Parkinson's may not lead directly to as many deaths, it takes an incredible toll on sufferers, their caregivers and families. As many as one million Americans live with Parkinson's, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation .
The Lewy body Dementia Association states that Lewy body dementia (LBD) is widely undiagnosed though it affects an estimated 1.4 million individuals in the United States. LBD can closely resemble Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and is a multi-system disease that typically requires a comprehensive treatment approach that requires a team of healthcare providers from different specialties.
According to the International Essential Tremor Foundation, essential tremor is another neurological condition that causes a rhythmic trembling most commonly of the hands or voice. Though it is often confused with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor is eight times more common and affects an estimated 10 million Americans.
The Need for More Clinical Research
As Baby Boomers age, there will be an increased need to conduct medical research studies to make progress against deadly and debilitating diseases that are known to affect the elderly. The Atlanta Center for Medical Research is committed to conducting clinical research studies that seek to improve the quality of life for the elderly, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, or essential tremor, which have no cure.
If you or a loved one have these diseases and/or conditions in your family history or currently suffer from them, you may want to consider participating in a medical research study.