AUSTIN (KXAN) — Mild Cognitive Impairment can lead to pre-Alzheimer’s, but 82% of Americans surveyed said they’ve never heard of it. The finding is from the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association’s annual report.

“There are one in seven people ages 60 and older who have MCI, and it’s important to know about it, because in some cases, MCI can progress to dementia,” said Morgan Daven with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Daven said studies suggest 10 to 15% of people with MCI develop dementia every year but said the condition is misunderstood by many Americans.

“MCI involves changes in memory and thinking that go beyond normal aging,” said Daven. “Examples of what MCI might look like include forgetting conversations or having a hard time finding your way around a place you know well.”

Research suggested MCI can be caused by depression or sleep deprivation in some cases, which experts said can be reversed if diagnosed early.

“It starts with talking to your doctor,” said Daven. “Your doctor can use a proven test for cognitive assessment for MCI and based on that see if you need to see a specialist.”

Th Alzheimer’s Association Capital of Texas Chapter provided the following findings from the 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report:

  • One of the biggest takeaways from this year’s report is the Alzheimer’s burden in this country and state continues to grow. 
  • More Americans are living with the disease – An estimated 6.5 million Americans ages 65 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021, including 400,000 in Texas. 
  • Alzheimer’s is a leading cause of death – Deaths due to Alzheimer’s have increased an alarming 145% since 2000. In Texas, there were 10,101 deaths (2019), a 217.2% increase since the year 2000.
  • Many family and friends are serving as Alzheimer’s caregivers – In Texas, 1,085,000 caregivers provided a total of 1,769,000,000 hours of unpaid care, valued at a total of $25,874,000,000.
  • The costs are unsustainable – In 2022, the total national cost of caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia is projected to reach $321 billion. Here in Texas, Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer’s are estimated at $3.202 billion. By 2025, these costs are projected to increase by 23.3%. 
  • Significant shortage in dementia care workforce will affect care – For the first time, the report looks at dementia care workforce and meeting the demands of the growing number of people being diagnosed. In Texas, there are 333 geriatricians. By 2050, that number needs to increase by 276.9% to meet the care demands of those age 65 and older. There are 293,400 home health and personal care aides in Texas, but we need to increase that number by 32.3% by 2028 to meet projected care demands.