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Alzheimer’s Estimated to Be No. 3 Killer Disease in U.S.

Alzheimer’s, known mostly for the memory loss and confusion it causes, may be the nation’s third-most deadly killer, according to a study that suggests many more Americans die from the disease than is known.

As many as a half-million people in the U.S. are killed by Alzheimer’s each year, or about five times more than the 83,494 now cited on death certificates, the research found. Many people fail to understand the destruction from Alzheimer’s disease, which is fatal when it impairs parts of the brain that control basic functions like breathing and swallowing.