Survey Indicates Multiple Factors to Blame in Alzheimer’s Misdiagnosis
The results of the International Alzheimer's Disease Physician Survey of nearly 1,000 physicians indicated that there are multiple factors that prevent physicians from making an accurate and timely diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Physicians reported that the most common barriers include non-definitive tests, lack of communication between patients and physicians, and patient denial.
According to the survey results, 45 percent of physicians feel that Alzheimer’s is “often” misdiagnosed and 48 percent believe it is “always” or “often” too late to intervene with any consequential treatment. Across the board, physicians agreed that if the disease were detected early on there would be a much better chance of defining treatment that could help slow the disease progression.
Researchers are not sure what causes Alzheimer’s disease, which means definitive diagnostic tests and tools for treatment are difficult if not impossible to develop; 65 percent of the physicians surveyed claimed these were the greatest barriers in diagnosing patients correctly. Physicians also noted that the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia makes communication with patients and their loved ones difficult. According to the article, many sufferers are in denial for a long period of time and fail to communicate symptoms with caregivers and physicians.
Moving forward, physicians and pharmaceutical companies intend to develop educational programs to reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s and improve the doctor-patient lines of communication. The programs will also help patients and caregivers better understand the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
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