Survey Finds High Alzheimer’s Awareness
A large survey has found that most people would rapidly seek medical advice if they developed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The survey covered 2,678 adults in the U.S., Germany, France, Spain and Poland.
It focused on the public perception and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, and was carried out by Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass., and the nongovernmental organization Alzheimer Europe. Findings were presented on July 20 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2011, held in Paris, France.
More than 85 percent of respondents would want to see a physician if they were experiencing confusion or memory loss, to find out if the symptoms were due to Alzheimer’s disease. A very high rate (over 94 percent) said they would want the same for a family member.
Other symptoms of the disease include difficulty with language and the ability to communicate, inability to perform previously routine tasks and personality and mood changes.
Alzheimer’s was the second biggest health fear after cancer in four of the five countries, above six other major diseases, with about a quarter of respondents fearing it more than cancer.
The majority of respondents (between 54 and 77 percent) had experience of Alzheimer’s disease in someone they know or have known. Common symptoms were recognized by at least 86 percent.
Heike von Lutzau-Hohlbein of Alzheimer Europe commented, “The results demonstrate the importance of being honest with patients when diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.
“As a former carer myself, I recognize how valuable it is for people to have firstly a name for all the uncertainties of their condition and then have the time to get their affairs in order. It will always be difficult to receive such a diagnosis but doctors need to empower patients and their loved ones to take the appropriate steps.