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Majority of BC people concerned about being diagnosed with Alzheimer's

A new survey says that the majority of British Columbians are concerned about being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The poll, conducted jointly by Insights West and the Alzheimer Society of B.C., found that some 61 per cent of people living here — including Oceanside residents — are concerned about getting the brain degenerative disease.

And 39 per cent of us know someone with Alzheimer's. Current population statistics show that approximately 1,600 more Qualicum Beach residents will reach age 65 in the next decade, according to current population statistics.

"Age is the greatest known risk factor and our baby boomers, the largest demographic group in our population, have now started to enter the 65 plus years," says Jane Hope, the society's support and education coordinator for the central Island.

"There is still a lot we don't know about the causes and we don't have a cure, so it's not a surprise that Alzheimer's disease is ranked so high as a health concern."

According to the study, it is the third most feared disease among B.C. residents after cancer (74 per cent) and heart disease (69 per cent). This finding is particularly alarming, she says, since the prevalence of the disease is not as high in B.C. as cancer, heart disease or even diabetes.

A more encouraging finding from the survey is that 52 per cent of respondents believe there will be a cure found in the next 10 years. In the meantime, says Hope, there needs to be more awareness and education about the disease.

Local families can turn to the Society's local support and education group, which meets monthly. For more information, contact Hope at 250-734-4170 or jhope@alzheimerbc.org.

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