Study Shows An Increase in The Number of Dementia Cases Reported

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A study by the University of Michigan has found that the diagnosis of dementia has increased by 36% in the last 20 years. As a result, more elderly adults are diagnosed with the disease before they die.

While this news may seem bad at first glance, the researchers explain that the increase might not be because of a rise in the incidence of the disease. Instead, the increase could be caused by better awareness and medical documentation. The team also states that more public awareness means that the elderly could talk to their relatives about the type of actions they would want to be taken if they have dementia.

How researchers conducted the study

The team gathered data from 3.5 million aged 67 and above. These people had died from 2000 to 2017. Researchers looked into the bills their caregivers and relatives submitted to Medicare at least two years before the patients died.

The researchers found that about 35% of the patients in 2004 had dementia in their Medicare claims. This figure was lower than in 2017, increasing to 47%. Moreover, they assessed the people who had at least two mentions of the disorder and found 39% in 2017 and 25% in 2004.

Researchers also noticed a significant increase in the number of people with dementia in the claims the year when Medicare began allowing doctors, hospices, and hospitals to list more than one illness.

There has been a change in awareness and treatment of dementia

At the same time, a National Plan was addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The initiative’s purpose was to increase awareness of the disease, improve care for the patients and help caregivers and their patients.

The same period also saw a change in his people managed people with dementia. Few patients died in a hospital bed with a feeding tube. The number of dementia patients who got care at a hospice also went from 36% to 63%.

According to Dr Julie Bynum, the professor of Michigan Medicine’s geriatric medicine division and a lead study author, while this is a good sign, there is still much to do. Patients who have recently received a diagnosis need to discuss their care with their relatives.

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