590K Californians Have Alzheimer’s; Many Not Told About Diagnosis
Many individuals in California and other states who have Alzheimer's disease were not initially told about the diagnosis by their physician, according to a study released Tuesday by the Alzheimer's Association, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Details of Study
About 5.3 million people have Alzheimer's disease and that number is expected to nearly triple by 2050, assuming no treatment is discovered, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
For the study, researchers examined Medicare claims data from 2008 to 2010 to identify individuals whose providers had submitted at least one Alzheimer's-related claim. The claims were compared with those for other conditions, such as several common types of cancer, stroke and cardiovascular disease.
The researchers asked patients whether their health care provider had disclosed the diagnosis. The study did not reveal at what time patients eventually learned of their diagnosis.
Nationwide, fewer than 50% of patients said they had been told about their dementia or Alzheimer's diagnosis. In comparison, the disclosure rate for most cancers averaged at more than 90%.
In addition, the study reported that between 2000 and 2013, the number of Alzheimer's-related deaths increased by 71%.
According to the study, the failure to disclose an Alzheimer's diagnosis can hinder early interventions that might slow symptoms and can prevent caregivers from making arrangements to protect the patient's safety.
According to the study, about 590,000 Californians have Alzheimer's (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/23). However, that number is expected to rise to 840,000 by 2025.
Further, the study found that 11,891 Californians in 2013 died because of Alzheimer's disease.
Meanwhile, the study found that California's more than 1.5 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers in 2014 contributed nearly 18 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at about $21.7 billion (Alzheimer's Association study, March 2015).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.