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Dementia Still Widely Misunderstood

Survey finds most think it is part of the aging process

SATURDAY, Aug. 3, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Despite the fact that Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are not a natural consequence of aging, most Americans believe that to be the case, says a new international survey.

The survey found that 87 percent of Americans believe the aging process can cause or contribute to development of dementia. That belief was also expressed by 72 percent of Canadians and 59 percent of Europeans surveyed.

Meanwhile, 17 percent of Americans, 39 percent of Canadians and 69 percent of Europeans said they weren't aware that stroke was an established cause of dementia. Strokes can cause vascular dementia, the second most common type of the disease.

Another survey found that while 77 percent of American primary care physicians said they routinely screen their elderly patients for signs of dementia, many more said they look for other age-related health problems in their elderly patients.

The survey also found that most primary care physicians underestimated the risk of dementia in stroke victims. While research indicates that half of stroke victims will develop dementia within five years of their stroke, only 27 percent of American physicians estimated that high an occurrence rate.

The surveys were done in May and June, 2002 by NOP Healthcare, an arm of NOP World, a global market research consultancy.

More information

Here's more on Alzheimer's Disease.

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