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HomeHealth articlesalzheimer's diseaseIs Alzheimer’s Disease a Public Health Concern?

How Is Alzheimer’s Disease a Public Health Concern?

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3 min read


Public health awareness is essential for early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Abhishek Juneja

Published At January 5, 2024
Reviewed AtJanuary 5, 2024

What Is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys mild memory, thinking skills, and the ability to do basic functions and respond to the environment. It is the most common type of dementia and contributes to 60 to 70 percent of cases. It is a neurological disorder that mostly occurs in old age and is associated with behavioral and cognitive complications. It has a greater impact on quality of life and function.

As per World Health Organization, dementia is a syndrome characterized by the disturbance of multiple brain functions, including memory, learning capacity, orientation, and calculation. Some studies prove that following a healthy lifestyle, incorporating daily physical activities, avoiding alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. As the burden is large and the impact is major, Alzheimer's disease and other dementia have become a public health issue.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease?

Memory loss is one of the initial signs of Alzheimer's disease and other dementia. Memory loss includes not remembering daily routine and work, asking repeated questions several times, changing mood and behavior, difficulty handling money and paying bills, misplacing things, and being unable to trace them back. There needs to be more clarity with time and place. An early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease shows signs of cognitive impairment, such as depression, vitamin deficiency, and hypothyroidism.

Is Alzheimer's Disease a Public Health Concern?

Public health's approach to health issues focuses on assessment, policy development, and assurance and ten corresponding health services that include:

  • Evaluate.

  • Monitor health.

  • Diagnose and investigate.

  • Inform, educate, and empower.

  • Mobilize community partnership.

  • Develop policies.

  • Enforce laws.

  • Provide care.

  • Assure a competent workforce.

In Alzheimer's, brain changes occur even before symptoms appear. The different cognitive functioning changes from birth to death are healthy cognitive functioning, pre- symptomatic followed by mild cognitive impairment, and then leads to dementia. Often Alzheimer's disease is left underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Therefore it is essential to increase the utilization of cognitive assessments in routine care. In the primary care setting, cognitive assessment should be improved, and it is essential to regularly apply cognitive assessment techniques to gain confidence from the providers. Though Alzheimer's disease cannot be prevented, it can cure or slow the progression of the disease. Public health intervention can reduce the impact of Alzheimer's disease. The tools and techniques include Early disease detection and diagnosis, following a healthy lifestyle, collecting and using surveillance data, etc.

Surveillance allows tracking and monitoring trends, identifying resource and service needs, and informing interventions.

The public health intervention includes three major steps. Primary prevention is by reducing the risk of disease, secondary prevention is by early diagnosis, and tertiary prevention is by safety and quality of care. These steps can reduce the burden of Alzheimer's disease.

Primary intervention

Reducing the risk of Alzheimer's is by improving brain health and following a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle includes quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol consumption, protecting the brain from any damage, being physically active, maintaining blood pressure, and managing obesity and diabetes. Steps for reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease

  • Education and awareness.

  • Develop policies.

  • Monitor and evaluate.

Brain health awareness and cognitive aging are necessary to educate the public. Healthcare professionals should be educated regarding the importance of treating Comorbidities and informing about injury risks. In order to educate the public, it is necessary to develop a centralized online portal for educational resources and an online program that includes information for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease. People with more years of formal education are at lower risk of Alzheimer's and other dementia than those with fewer years of formal education. It is essential to promote the use of effective interventions and best practices to protect brain health.

Secondary Intervention

Public health must promote early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Care and support are essential for people living with Alzheimer's disease. The quality of life and quality of care is improved when diagnosed early. It also reduces the financial and emotional impact of the disease. Patients and caregivers can manage the medications better, receive counseling, and manage comorbidities with early disease diagnosis. The responsibility of public health for early diagnosis is to educate the public about the benefits of early detection and diagnosis and to improve the inclusion of healthcare quality that addresses cognitive assessment.

Tertiary Intervention

Public health can enhance the quality of care for people living with Alzheimer's disease and educate caregivers about community services and support.

Active Management

Public health should actively manage Alzheimer's disease that includes:

  • Manage the co-existing conditions effectively.

  • Use proper treatment among all options available.

  • Healthcare professionals, physicians, and caregivers should have proper coordination among themselves.

  • Connect with others with Alzheimer's disease through support groups and supportive services.

  • Should have more awareness about the disease.

  • Plan for the future.

What Are Core Competencies for Providing Care to a Person With Alzheimer's Disease?

There are some basic core competencies developed by the Alzheimer's disease committee and Illinois partners. These core competencies are provided to individuals working with persons living with dementia. It began in 2015 as a part of a healthy brain initiative, providing a foundation for future training that will help in building skills for professionals and caretakers. These competencies will help to enhance care and quality of life for people living with Alzheimer's disease.


In the future, the impact of Alzheimer's disease depends on healthcare workers and professionals by conducting early detection and diagnosis, education programs, and awareness regarding health behaviors. All these might increase susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease.

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Dr. Abhishek Juneja
Dr. Abhishek Juneja



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