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New data confirms a dementia epidemic, need for awareness of the benefits of early detection

The findings of the Cognitive Module in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) confirms the growing prevalence of cognitive decline and future implications of an aging America and underscores the need for individuals to talk to their doctors about memory problems. This is the first data ever released through the BRFSS on cognitive decline and its impact.

According to survey results, in Texas, 12.6 percent of respondents ages 60 years or older reported increased confusion or memory loss and 40 percent reported that it interfered with their work, social activities or ability to do household chores. Despite the known benefits of early detection, nearly 80 percent of individuals with increased memory problems in Texas have not discussed their symptoms with a health care provider.

While there are not currently treatments available to slow or stop the progression of the disease, early detections allows people to get the maximum benefit from available treatments, consider participating in a clinical trial, establish a support network and plan for the future. Additionally, studies have shown that the ability to educate oneself and plan for the future is a tremendous asset in anticipating challenges and reducing anxiety, depression and stress and improves quality of care by allowing for better management of other chronic conditions.

The data collected in Texas was made possible by a collaboration between the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Alzheimers Disease Program and its volunteer partnership, the Texas Council on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders, and the Alzheimers Association. Through the dedicated work of volunteer members implementing the 2010-2015 Texas State Plan on Alzheimers Disease, the first set of Texas guidelines were developed to assist health care providers in detecting, diagnosing and treating Alzheimers disease. More information on the guidelines can be found here: www.dshs.state.tx.us/alzheimers/Alzheimer-s-Disease--Clinical-Best-Pract....

There are 340,000 people living with Alzheimers and 1,294,000 unpaid caregivers in Texas, according to the Alzheimers Association 2013 Alzheimers Disease Facts & Figures. Alzheimers Association chapters nationwide facilitate more than 4,500 support groups and conduct 20,000 education programs annually. The Alzheimers Association provides consultation to 250,000 people in need each year through its toll-free 24/7 Helpline at (800) 272-3900. The only one of its kind, the Helpline is staffed by masters-level counselors and provides information and guidance in more than 170 languages and dialects.

Knowing the Alzheimers Association 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimers is critical to early detection and receiving the best care possible. To learn the 10 Warning Signs, visit alz.org/10signs.

The Alzheimers Association Capitol of Texas Chapter is offering a free class on Coping with Alzheimers, which will provide guidance on how families can meet these challenges. The class will meet over lunch at the Kyle Public Library located at 550 Scott Street from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The class will cover topics such as: Assembling a care team, coping with grief, managing changing family roles, disease stages, tips for communicating and managing behaviors and how to access community resources. The class is free to attend by registration is required. Call (512) 241-0420 or email txprograms@txalz.org to reserve a spot.

San Marcos Record

P.O. Box 1109
San Marcos, Tx 78666
Phone: 512-392-2458
Fax: 512-392-6483