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American men and women are living longer, with an average age of 80.4 years for women and 75.2 years for men, according to the US government. However, death rates from Alzheimer's disease are on the rise. Alzheimer's disease is now the seventh leading cause of death among American men and women.


Statistics for 2004, the latest year for which data have been completed, reveal the following top 10 causes of death among Americans:


1. Heart disease: 654000 deaths


2. Cancer: 550000 deaths


3. Stroke: 150000 deaths


4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 123000 deaths


5. Accidents: 108000 deaths


6. Diabetes: 72800 deaths


7. Alzheimer's disease: 65829 deaths


8. Flu and pneumonia: 61472 deaths


9. Kidney disease: 42762 deaths


10. Blood infections (septicemia): 33464 deaths



Although the overall death rate decreased in 2004, deaths from Alzheimer's disease increased by 1.4% from the previous year, the National Center for Health Statistics reported. The numbers underscore the enormous toll that Alzheimer's disease takes on citizens nationwide and support the predictions of a trend toward a growing number of patients with Alzheimer's disease due to the aging of the population.


The Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation provides funding for basic research into the underlying causes of Alzheimer's disease, as well as information for patients and families on the latest findings regarding the disease and resources for caregivers. For more information, visit