MANSFIELD — New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one in nine survey respondents age 45 and older in Ohio reported increased confusion or memory loss (e.g. subjective cognitive decline) and nearly 42 percent said that it interfered with their daily lives.
Despite the known benefits of early detection, 53 percent of those with increased memory problems reported they had not discussed their symptoms with a health care provider.
The findings come from the Cognitive Module of the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a public health survey conducted annually by states in coordination with the CDC. Nearly 8,400 participants in Ohio were asked a series of questions about memory problems. Ohio was one of 33 states and the District of Columbia to collect the data.
Aggregated results show 11.6 percent of Americans aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline and African Americans are 21 percent more likely than whites to have it. The data also indicate that people with subjective cognitive decline often have additional health issues beyond their increasing memory problems. In the 2015 survey, 80 percent of respondents with subjective cognitive decline reported at least one other chronic condition.
“Cognitive change, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, is the next major area of concern for public health. It is already a burden in the lives of individuals and their families and will soon become a financial and care burden for our nation,” said Cheryl Conley, program director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter.
There is evidence that self-reported memory problems are a good predictor of a future diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or anther dementia. Collecting this data is helpful in predicting future costs, as well as care and support service needs at both the state and national level. In Ohio more than 210,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s and 596,000 are providing unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures. Nationally, an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease at an annual cost to taxpayers of $236 billion.
The new data also underscore the need for greater efforts to promote early detection and diagnosis. While today there is no way to cure, prevent or slow the progression of the disease, early and documented diagnosis when coupled with access to care planning services leads to better outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers.
“There are resources available today to help people cope with cognitive changes. It is important to be evaluated in order to move forward,” Ms. Conley added.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease or the Alzheimer’s Association, visit alz.org.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. It is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research. The Association’s mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org or call 800-272-3900.