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U.N. high-level meeting recognizes global Alzheimer's burden

U.N. high-level meeting recognizes global Alzheimer's burden
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September 18, 2011
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U.N. high-level meeting recognizes global Alzheimer's burden

As world leaders gather for the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), the Alzheimer's Association is pleased that the NCD Summit 2011 outcomes document specifically recognizes Alzheimer's disease as a major chronic illness that contributes to the global public health burden. During this World Alzheimer's Month, the inclusion of Alzheimer's disease signals that leaders throughout the international community recognize the global Alzheimer's crisis, and it serves as a call to action for nations to combat this crisis now.

According to current estimates, about 36 million people worldwide are living with dementia, and that is expected to more than triple by 2050. Already, the global cost of Alzheimer's consumes 1 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the United States, because of the aging of the population, the direct costs of Alzheimer's disease to American society will escalate from an estimated $183 billion this year to $1.1 trillion in 2050. This does not include the $202 billion in unpaid care currently provided by family and friends. The Alzheimer's crisis is placing — and will increasingly place — an enormous strain on the health care system, families and government budgets of nations around the world.

"Having the United Nations lend its powerful voice and support to elevate awareness and understanding of Alzheimer's is a significant first step. Alzheimer's is an international public health crisis requiring global attention and global action," said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association vice president of public policy. "The far-reaching impact of Alzheimer's on the world community is daunting and to confront the challenge it poses we must leverage the knowledge, insights and resources of all countries."

The Association joined with Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) in actively seeking to include Alzheimer's and dementia in the NCD Summit and commends ADI's leadership. The Alzheimer's Association is the United States member organization of ADI, remains committed to illuminating the human and economic toll of this disease both in the United States and around the world until its vision of a world without Alzheimer's is realized.

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