What does home respiratory therapy have in common with Alzheimer's Disease? A lot

 - 
10/29/2010

I ran across a study recently that made me sit up and say, Wow.

Check this out: People who smoke heavily in midlife more than double their odds of developing Alzheimer's Disease, according to Kaiser Permanente.

To be more exact, and I quote: Compared with non-smokers, those in the study who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day increased their risk of developing Alzheimer's by more than 157% and had a 172% higher risk of developing vascular dementia -- the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's.

After reading about this study, I had a thought: I wonder if this represents a business opportunity for home respiratory providers? They're already supplying oxygen to patients (mostly smokers or former smokers), and chances are many of these patients will eventually develop Alzheimer's. Why not also supply products, services and education for these patients and their caregivers?

I knew this was a big market, but I had no idea how big. It's huge. Here's some information I pulled from the National Institute on Aging:

According to recent estimates, as many as 2.4 million to 5.1 million Americans have AD. Unless the disease can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people with AD will increase significantly if current population trends continue. That's because the risk of AD increases with age, and the U.S. population is aging. The number of people age 65 and older is expected to grow from 39 million in 2008 to 72 million in 2030, and the number of people with AD doubles for every 5-year interval beyond age 65.

With numbers like that, this market represents a big business opportunity for somebody, at least in the disease's early stages when the patient is still living at home. Maybe that somebody is you.

Mike Moran

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