To the editor:
Regarding The National Alzheimer's Plan signed by President Obama a year ago this month.
Alzheimer's can't wait. It's time to change the trajectory of this disease by creating a national strategic plan for Alzheimer's that is urgent, achievable and accountable. There are 69,000 Iowans with Alzheimer's disease now. From now until 2050, our country's Medicare costs will increase nearly 600 percent and Medicaid nearly 400 percent - if we do nothing.
Every day I see how this disease gradually robs people of their memory, their ability to communicate, walk, eat and care for themselves. It is heartbreaking to see families loose the person they have known as they watch the mental and physical decline and eventual death of their loved one. Alzheimer's is the only disease among the top killers for which there is no prevention, cure or treatment that will slow its progression.
Alzheimer's disease kills more Americans than diabetes, and more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. We are at a critical juncture in time where the creation of a strategic plan to address the escalating Alzheimer's crisis is within our grasp. By making Alzheimer's a national priority, we have the potential to create the same success that has been demonstrated in the fights against other diseases. We have lowered the number of deaths from other major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, pneumonia, and stroke, so why not Alzheimer's disease?
At the one-year anniversary of the signing of the National Alzheimer's Project Act, I urge Iowans to take a stand in the war against Alzheimer's disease. We need the nation's leaders to fulfill their commitment - for the millions today living with this disease and the millions more tomorrow who may face it.
Visit napa.alz.org to share your opinion or become an advocate.