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Dementia & Neuropsychologia

Print version ISSN 1980-5764

Dement. neuropsychol. vol.5 no.2 São Paulo Apr./June 2011

https://doi.org/10.1590/S1980-57642011DN05020009 

Original Articles

Worries about memory loss and knowledge on Alzheimer's disease in community-dwelling elderly from Brazil

Influências das características sociodemográficas no conhecimento sobre doença de Alzheimer numa população de idosos da cidade de Santos

Maria Niures P.S. Matioli 1  

Arnaldo Etzel 2  

João A.G.G. Prats 3  

Wares F. de O. Medeiros 3  

Taiguara R. Monteiro 3  

Alberto de M. Soares 1  

¹Department of Geriatrics of Lusiada University, Santos SP, Brazil;

²Department of Clinical Medicine, Santos SP, Brazil;

3Medical Sciences Course of Lusiada University, Santos SP, Brazil.


Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. Efforts to determine risk factors for the development of AD are important for risk stratification and early diagnosis. Furthermore, there are no standardized practices for memory screening. Lack of knowledge on AD, perception of memory loss as part of normal aging, and poor socioeconomic conditions may also be implicated in the current situation of dementia.

Objective:

To evaluate knowledge of AD in a literate population of elders and correlate these findings with sociodemographic characteristics.

Methods:

A descriptive survey design study enrolled 994 volunteers from September 2007 to May 2008 in the city of Santos, São Paulo, Brazil, to answer a brief questionnaire consisting of 8 simple questions about knowledge of AD and worries about memory loss.

Results:

Greater knowledge about AD was associated with eight or more years of education, female gender and age between 60 and 70 years. Also, 52.8% of responders (95% CI - 49.5-56.0%) answered that memory loss is part of normal aging and 77.5% (95% CI - 74.7-80.1%) had never sought a doctor to evaluate their memories.

Conclusion:

Our study results reinforced that the first line of preventing late diagnosis of dementia is to act in health promotion, especially by targeting subjects older than 70 years of male gender and with lower educational level. It also provided evidence that strategies to promote physician initiative in treating memory problems are also paramount.

Key words: Alzheimer's disease; dementia; epidemiological studies.

Resumo

A doença de Alzheimer (DA) é a causa mais comum de demência. Determinar os fatores de risco para o desenvolvimento da DA é importante na estratificação de risco e no diagnóstico precoce. Falta de conhecimento sobre a DA, percepção de perda de memória como parte do envelhecimento normal e más condições de socioeconômicas podem também estar implicadas.

Objetivo:

Avaliar o conhecimento sobre DA numa população alfabetizada de idosos e correlacionar esses achados com suas características sociodemográficas.

Métodos:

Este estudo descritivo envolveu 994 voluntários de Setembro de 2007 a Maio de 2008 na cidade de Santos, São Paulo, Brasil. Eles se dispuseram a responder um questionário simples composto de 8 questões sobre o conhecimento da DA e preocupações com a perda de memória.

Resultados:

Um maior conhecimento sobre DA foi associado à escolaridade >8 anos de estudo, ao gênero feminino e a idade entre 60 e 70 anos. Além disso, 52,8% dos respondedores (IC 95% - 49,5-56,0%) disseram que perda de memória faz parte do envelhecimento normal e 77,5% (IC 95% - 74,7-80,1%) relataram que nunca haviam procurado um médico para avaliação de memória.

Conclusão:

Nosso estudo reforça o fato de que a primeira linha de prevenção do diagnóstico tardio de demência é a promoção da saúde, especialmente tendo em foco indivíduos maiores de 70 anos, gênero masculino e maior escolaridade, nossa população de mais alto risco. Também traz evidências de que estratégias para promover a iniciativa dos médicos no cuidado aos problemas de memória são de grande importância.

Palavras-chave: doença de Alzheimer; demência. estudos epidemiológicos.

Texto completo disponível apenas em PDF.

Full text available only in PDF format.

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Received: February 28, 2011; Accepted: May 05, 2011

Maria Niures P.S. Matioli - Av. Almirante Cochrane, 123 / aptº 101 - 11040-001 Santos SP - Brazil. E-mail: matioli@kingnet.com.br

Disclosure: The authors reports no conflicts of interest.

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