Aug 1, 2023 - News

Miami-Dade leads nation in prevalence of Alzheimer's

Explore this interactive map. Data: Dhana, et al., 2023; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Miami-Dade County has the highest prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in the country, according to a study published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Why it matters: There are about 460,000 people over age 65 here and an estimated 16.6% — or 77,000 people — have the disease.

  • Statewide, an estimated 12.5% of adults age 65 or older — about 579,900 residents — have it.
  • Nationally, caring for those with Alzheimer's cost an estimated $321 billion last year, much of which came via Medicare and Medicaid, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

Details: Researchers estimated the rates of Alzheimer's among adults age 65 or older in a given area based on demographic risk factors.

  • The risk increases exponentially with age.

Between the lines: Women's risk is 1.13 times higher than men's, per the study.

  • In the U.S., Black people are about two times more likely than white people to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias, while Hispanic people are about 1.5 times more likely.

What they're saying: Rosie E. Curiel Cid, a geriatric neuropsychologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, tells Axios she's not surprised about the findings. Florida is one of the top three states with an aging population, and in Miami-Dade, about 14% of the population is Black and 72% Hispanic.

  • The findings highlight the need for more resources for older adults and their caregivers.
  • "Culturally, Hispanic/Latinos in particular prefer to care for their loved ones at home," Curiel Cid says.

Be smart: Individuals can minimize their risk for developing diseases of their aging brains, Curiel Cid says.

  • Starting in middle age, people should exercise, develop good sleep habits, manage stress and engage in meaningful socialization.
  • Anyone with memory complaints that can't be attributed to medical illness or the use of substances should see a memory disorders specialist, she recommends. There are three such state-funded clinics in Miami-Dade County.
  • An early diagnosis can lead to a variety of treatment options and help families plan.
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