Alzheimer's among most feared diseases

Aug 04, 2011

A growing number of people are worried about developing Alzheimer's

People tend to rank cancer as the number one disease they are most concerned with getting, but Alzheimer's comes in a close second, even though the majority of Americans do not realize the disease is inevitably fatal and may cause a significant increase in life insurance claims.

A recent U.S. and European study found that eight in 10 people surveyed would visit a doctor if they began experiencing memory loss and feared that it might be Alzheimer's. Additionally, almost all of those polled said they would take a loved one to the doctor if they had symptoms, according to Robert Blendon, ScD, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Researchers have found that Alzheimer's begins to develop in the brain at least ten years before a patient begins to exhibit symptoms. Therefore, as treatments continue to be developed, early detection is becoming increasingly important, according to WebMD. Experts said that they conducted the study to find out if people would come in to be tested when they showed possible signs of the disease.

"We found a large proportion of people will come, but they may come with high expectations [that we have more to offer than we currently have]," Blendon told the news source.  

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