Awareness of Diagnosis in Persons with Early-Stage Alzheimer's Disease: An Observational Study in Spain.

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Limited information is available on people's experiences of living with Alzheimer's disease (AD) at earlier stages. This study assessed awareness of diagnosis among people with early-stage AD and its impact on different person-centered outcome measures. We conducted an observational, cross-sectional study in 21 memory clinics in Spain. Persons aged 50-90 years, diagnosed with prodromal or mild AD (NIA/AA criteria), a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score ≥ 22, and a Clinical Dementia Rating-Global score (CDR-GS) of 0.5 or 1.0 were recruited. The Representations and Adjustment to Dementia Index (RADIX) was used to assess participants' beliefs about their condition and its consequences. A total of 149 persons with early-stage AD were studied. Mean (SD) age was 72.3 (7.0) years and 50.3% were female. Mean duration of AD was 1.4 (1.8) years. Mean MMSE score was 24.6 (2.1) and 87.2% had a CDR-GS score of 0.5. Most participants (n = 84, 57.5%) used a descriptive term related to specific AD symptoms (e.g., memory difficulties) when asked what they called their condition. Participants aware of their diagnosis using the term AD (n = 66, 45.2%) were younger, had more depressive symptoms, and poorer life satisfaction and quality of life compared to those without awareness of their specific diagnosis. Practical and emotional consequences RADIX scores showed a significant negative correlation with Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease score (rho = - 0.389 and - 0.413, respectively; p  Awareness of diagnosis was a common phenomenon in persons with early-stage AD negatively impacting their quality of life. Understanding illness representations in earlier stages may facilitate implementing optimized care that supports improved quality of life and well-being.
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Alzheimer’s disease, Awareness, Diagnosis, Illness representation, Quality of life, Well-being