At an active outpatient geriatric program the gerontological team observed that Alzheimer patients appear to have fewer physical ailments than other elderly patients. To test this hypothesis, we reviewed a sample of 348 clinic patients. One hundred forty-three had a normal mental status; 75 had Alzheimer's disease as defined by DSM-III criteria; 139 had an abnormal mental status attributed to other etiologies. The number of diagnoses was compiled in each of the three groups. The average number of diagnoses in the nondemented group was 5.0 in males, 5.4 in females. In the non-Alzheimer abnormal mental status group, the average number was 5.5 in males, 4.6 in females. In contrast, the number of diagnoses in the Alzheimer group was 2.9 in males and 2.8 in females (P less than 0.0001). Cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and cerebrovascular accidents were less frequent in the Alzheimer population. This study suggests that Alzheimer patients are physically healthier than non-Alzheimer elderly patients.