This month, the Center for Disease Control released findings from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Cognitive Impairment Module, which confirms the growing prevalence of cognitive decline in America. This is the first data ever released through the BRFSS on cognitive decline and its impact. The Alzheimer’s Association was instrumental in making this happen. The survey of 21 states underscores the need for individuals to talk to their doctors about memory problems.
In California, more than one in six aged 60 and over reported confusion or memory loss more often or getting worse in the previous 12 months. Roughly one-third reported that it has interfered with their work, social activities, or ability to complete household tasks. Despite the known benefits of early detection, over 85% of Californians with memory problems have not discussed these issues with a health care provider, and nearly 31% report that they live alone.
Not all individuals with cognitive decline will develop Alzheimer’s disease, but worsening memory problems is one of the first warning signs of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. While there are not currently treatments available to slow or stop the progression of the disease, early detection allows people to maximize the benefits of available treatments, consider participation in clinical trials, establish a support network and plan for the future.
If you are interested in reading about the 10 Signs & Symptoms of Alzheimer’s, you can do so here.