MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s a frightening diagnosis that is a reality for many.
"It’s scary to go to the doctor and have them tell you that you have a disease that there is no cure for,” said Laura Pate, Alzheimer’s Association Tennessee Chapter Programs and Education manager.
Research shows 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a struggle that more often than not leads to dementia.
"Dementia is an umbrella and 86 percent of that umbrella is Alzheimer’s disease,” said Pate.
According to a report compiled by writers for 24/7 Wall St., a financial news and opinion company, Tennessee has the highest dementia-linked death rate in the United States.
"It doesn’t spare men, women or race. This is something that’s a killer across all of those areas,” said Editor in Chief Doug McIntyre.
According to data from the National Vital Statistics System, which is maintained by the National Center for Health Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. researchers determined roughly 90 per 100,000 Tennesseans died from dementia-related causes between 2000 and 2017.
But pinpointing why isn’t so clear. Factors including education, health and environment can all play a role.
"Then you have to look at health and lifestyle. Are you over stressed? Stress does a lot to us. Are you eating a balanced diet? Are you getting enough some sleep,” said Pate.
Arkansas ranked 19th and Mississippi ranked 21st in the report.
"This is now becoming one of the leading causes of death in the United States and as the population ages it’s only going to climb higher,” said McIntyre.
You can call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 hotline at 1-800-272-3900 to learn more.