Fast Facts – Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

 

Source: Plassman, BL., et al (2007.) Prevalence of Dementia in the United States: The Aging Demographics and Memory Study. Neuroepidemiology; 29:125-132.

Dementia describes a group of symptoms involving memory, thinking, behavior and ability to perform every day activities.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia – the most common type. Other types include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies and frontotemporal dementia.

By the Numbers:

Over 5.3 million Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Most of them were diagnosed when over the age of 65, and almost 2/3 are women.[1]

  • 200,000 people were diagnosed with Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s, under the age of 65.[2]
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.[3]
  • Alzheimer’s is expensive – to all of us. In 2015, the total cost of all dementias will be $226 billion.[4]

Stigma:

Because of misconceptions and stigma, people are often reluctant to acknowledge signs of dementia, and therefore to access needed help, whether from friends and family or healthcare providers.[5] Healthcare providers oftentimes don’t know how to tell their patients about their Alzheimer’s diagnosis.[6] Only 45% of people with Alzheimer’s disease or their caregivers report being told of their diagnosis, compared to 90% of other diseases.[7] This leads to a delay in diagnosis and loss of vital time to make decisions and plan. The belief that nothing can be done until the disease progresses impacts healthcare providers’ reluctance to disclose a diagnosis early.[8]

Emphasizing the symptoms of dementia, rather than acknowledging and supporting the capabilities of those with the syndrome, leads to isolation. It is a barrier to improving the care and well-being of people with dementia.[9]


 

[1] Alzheimer’s Association. 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s & Dementia 2015;11(3)332+. http://www.alz.org/facts/downloads/facts_figures_2015.pdf, accessed 6/2/15.

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Batsch NL, Mittelman MS. World Alzheimer Report 2012: Overcoming the stigma of dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2012.

[6] Phillips, J., Pond, C. D., Paterson, N. E., Howell, C., Shell, A., Stocks, N. P., … Marley, J. E. (2012). Difficulties in disclosing the diagnosis of dementia: a qualitative study in general practice. The British Journal of General Practice,62(601), e546–e553.

[7] Alzheimer’s Association. 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s & Dementia 2015;11(3)332+. http://www.alz.org/facts/downloads/facts_figures_2015.pdf, accessed 6/2/15.

[8] Vernooij-Dassen, MJFJ., Moniz-Cook, ED., Woods, RT et al (2005.) Factors affecting timely recognition and diagnosis of dementia across Europe: from awareness to stigma International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry; 20,(4) 377–386.

[9] Batsch NL, Mittelman MS. World Alzheimer Report 2012: Overcoming the stigma of dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2012.

Spotlight Calendar

Each month B Stigma-Free will spotlight a different area for attention. Blog articles, fact sheets and social media emphasis will call attention to the issue of stigma and the identified topic. Do you have suggestions for us to include? Tell us your ideas here.

Future Spotlight Topics:

June 2015 – Alzheimer’s Disease

July 2015 – Criminal Records

August 2015 – Skin Conditions

September 2015 – Deafness

October 2015 – Dwarfism

November 2015 – PTSD

December 2015 – Religion

January 2016 – Socio-Economic Status

February 2016 – Eating Disorders

March 2016 – Learning Disabilities

April 2016 – Substance Abuse

May 2016 – Older People

September 2016 – Albinism