WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 2018 — Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer’s Association released the third edition of the Healthy Brain Initiative (HBI) Road Map. State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia: The 2018- 2023 Road Map provides public health officials with a set of strategies to realize a better future for all communities impacted by dementia.
While historically Alzheimer's disease was seen as an aging issue, it is now much more widely viewed as a public health issue. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years, often spanning decades. As with other chronic and degenerative conditions, public health can reduce risk, expand early detection and diagnosis, improve safety and quality of care for people living with cognitive impairment, and attend to caregivers’ health and well-being.
“To achieve meaningful progress against Alzheimer's disease, we must recognize and address it as a public health crisis.” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Public Policy Officer. “The HBI Road Map provides the public health community with concrete steps to act quickly and strategically take action to address this growing public health crisis.”
To focus the public health response, experts developed 25 actions for public health leaders that are adaptable for each community’s specific needs. These actions are grounded in traditional public health strategies so leaders can easily and efficiently incorporate Alzheimer’s into existing public health initiatives. The HBI Road Map features cutting-edge highlights of state and community initiatives to start improving dementia outcomes.
Each year, Alzheimer’s and other dementias increasingly impact millions of Americans, their families, and communities and escalate government spending. Today, more than 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and 16 million more are providing unpaid care for someone with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association® 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures. And, as these numbers are expected to rise as our nation ages, more than ever, public health has a critical role to play in changing the course of dementia.
According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 11 percent of adults aged 45 and older experienced subjective cognitive decline in the previous 12 months, but of those more than half had not discussed these changes with a health care provider. The data also found that subjective cognitive decline was impacting their day to day life. Nationally more than half with subjective cognitive decline reported that it limited household, work, or social activities. Eighty percent of those with subjective cognitive decline have at least one other chronic condition (arthritis, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD, and/or diabetes).
This data is increasingly useful to public health officials, as there is evidence that self-reported memory problems are a good predictor of future diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another dementia. To address staggering statistics like these, our nation must implement the recommendations in the HBI Road Map.
For more information visit alz.org/publichealth.
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.