EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- El Paso is one of the top 10 counties in the nation where populations are at high-risk for developing Alzheimer's Disease, according to research conducted by the Alzheimer's Association.
Further, researchers believe that the number of Alzheimer's cases will probably increase across the Southwest in the future -- due to genetic risks within the population.
The National Institute on Aging defines Alzheimer's as a bran disorder which destroys memory, which progressively gets worse. Most develop Alzheimer's in their 60s, but some symptoms can show up in their 30s. It is the most common cause of dementia.
The Association believes that more than 16,000 people in El Paso alone are living with some form of Alzheimer's. One of the top counties in the nation for Alzheimer's cases. Hispanic and Black Americans are at higher risk, according to research conducted by the Alzheimer's Association.
The researchers hope that this data can help bring better funding, staffing numbers and resources to areas of the country struggling with Alzheimer's prevalence.
Over 6 million Americans nationwide are living with the condition, and mover 11 million unpaid caregivers take care of someone affected by AD. The AAA says that more than 10,000 people died from Alzheimer's complications in 2019 alone
The AA is a voluntary organization that funds both research and care, hoping to increase understanding of Alzheimer's -- and dementia in general.
Nationwide, researchers are concerned that the number of AD cases could increase by over 22% in the next two years. .
The Association estimates that 1 in 3 American seniors died with either Alzheimer's or another dementia condition -- claiming the lives of more people than both prostate and breast cancer combined.
According to Alzheimer's Association's factsheet for this year, the American West and Southwest has been experiencing the largest percent increase of Alzheimer's patients since 2020.
Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.