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Recognizing Alzheimer’s

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found 12.9 percent of respondents aged 45 and older in Mississippi reported increased confusion or memory loss (i.e., subjective cognitive decline) and 67.4 percent said that it interfered with their daily life. What’s more, despite the known benefits of early detection, over half (54.4 percent) of individuals with increased memory problems reported they had not discussed their symptoms with a health care provider.

This new, alarming data comes from the Cognitive Module of the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a public health survey conducted annually by states in coordination with the CDC, in which participants are asked a series of questions about memory problems.

The data release coincides with National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. During the month of November, Americans across the nation recognize the impact of caregiving and honor the more than 15 million Americans caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

As the Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Mississippi Chapter, I understand firsthand the importance of early detection and diagnosis. While today there is no way to cure, prevent or slow the progression of the disease, early and documented diagnosis when coupled with access to care planning services leads to better outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers.

Thank you to Mississippi’s Department of Health as well as the Department of Mental Health for your support throughout this process. This data strengthens our collective efforts to carry out the state plan’s goal of informing Mississippians about ways to promote and improve brain health.

We invite The Oxford Eagle readers to visit alz.org/ms for more information and to get involved.

Sincerely,

Mary Kim Smith,

Executive Director Alzheimer’s Association Mississippi Chapter