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More Doctors Citing Alzheimer's As Cause Of Death

After NPR broadcaster and "Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me" judge and scorekeeper, Carl Kassell died Tuesday, NPR announced the cause of death as “complications due to Alzheimer’s disease.” That’s an important phrase because it can lead to more accurate reporting.

It’s the complications which are brought on by Alzheimer’s disease that eventually kills the patient. Still, those complications, like pneumonia or sepsis, can sometimes appear on the death certificate, but that’s changing. Dr. Pierre Tariot is with the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix.

"So more and more physicians are recording the fundamental underlying cause of illness rather than the last straw so to speak. This is probably the main reason Alzheimer’s disease is as a cause of death, rising very sharply," he said.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease in Arizona is expected to grow by nearly 43 percent by 2025… that translates to roughly 60,000 people. 

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Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.