Alzheimer's disease and dementia may afflict about half a million Americans ages 55 to 64, said a report that challenges the widely held view that the conditions only affect elderly patients.
The report from the Alzheimer's Assn., a Chicago-based research and advocacy group, said that 480,000 people from age 55 to 64 had cognitive impairments severe enough to be considered disabling. The finding points to a need for better diagnosis and treatment options for people in this age group, the report said.
Many people are still working when symptoms first emerge, affecting job performance, the report said.
Others leave the workforce before cognitive problems surface, then can't get private insurance or government health programs to cover the cost of treatment.