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A national study showed that although many Americans say they want to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, they are mostly misunderstood when it comes to risk factors other than genetics and age.

According to the MDVIP/Ipsos survey released this week (which coincides with World Alzheimer’s Month), 80% of Americans want to reduce their risk of dementia, but only about 35% of Americans say they know the symptoms.

“If you don’t know what the early signs are, it means that you or someone you care about is sick in front of you, and you don’t know what it is or what to do,” he said. PhD Jason Karlawish, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Memory Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

He said that common warning signs of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease are repetitive problems and stories, orientation difficulties, and difficulties in daily work.

The survey included a test that tested the respondents’ knowledge of brain health. About a quarter of the interviewees said they knew the risk factors, prevention, etiology and different types of dementia.

Andrea Klemes, chief medical officer of MDVIP, a member-based healthcare network, said: “Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading causes of death and health decline in the United States, but our data shows that the disease is still widely misunderstood.”

About 1,200 people participated in the survey. Andrew Budson, professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and author of “Seven Steps to Managing Memory,” said the results are consistent with what he has seen in practice.

He said that most people don’t know the difference between Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a general term for decreased mental capacity, severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease that can lead to dementia.

Budson said there are many ways to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, including physical exercise and diet. He specifically pointed to aerobic exercise and the Mediterranean diet, which included relatively little red meat, and emphasized whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and healthy fats such as nuts and olive oil.

Clems said that another important way to prevent this disease is to take care of your emotional health. She said that studies have shown that depression is a risk factor for dementia, and that people with depression tend to decline faster in thinking and memory.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.8 million Americans 65 and older have the disease, As of 2020. It is estimated that by 2025, this number will increase to 7.1 million people. Clems is concerned that as the coronavirus pandemic prevents older people from participating in social activities, this number may surge, which may lead to depression.

State of Alzheimer’s disease: By 2025, this disease will affect 7.1 million Americans.

the study: Alzheimer’s blood test finds signal 20 years before memory

A separate MDVIP/Ipsos study of approximately 1,000 adults found that nearly two-thirds of Americans said that the pandemic has an impact on depression and anxiety. Experts say that it is important for people to maintain their emotional health and to see a doctor if they find cognitive symptoms in themselves or their loved ones.

Clems said: “We don’t yet know the long-term consequences of this pandemic on the brain.” “Just like testing for high cholesterol or diabetes, brain health checks should become a routine part of preventive health care, and primary care The cooperation of doctors is an important first step.”

Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Grants from the Masimo Ethics, Innovation, and Healthcare Foundation make possible the health and patient safety coverage of “USA Today”. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial opinions.

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