NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The east and southeastern United States have the highest prevalence of Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to a first-ever study of occurrence of the disease, broken down by county. This study helps us in knowing where we need education in assistance throughout the nation.

You may think that a larger city, such as Fargo or Bismarck, would carry the highest numbers in Alzheimer’s disease, but this is not so. A rural area in McIntosh County has the greatest number here in our state, making up 14.6%.

“The county that had the least prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is Mountrail County with only 9%,” said Susan Parriott, the CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association: Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter.

Susan Parriott also says the states with the highest prevalence in the nation are seen in the south.
“I think it’s the diversity, because in the South, there are definitely more Latinos and Blacks, and those populations are at greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease. They’re also larger populations of people in some of those southern states. So, you think about the number of people that live in North Dakota and the number of people that are over 65, we’re gonna have smaller numbers in North Dakota just because we do not have the population,” said Parriott.
And it shows. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 15,000 North Dakotans, ages 65 and older have the debilitating disease. Now that the research is on the table, the problem areas are listed, and we know who needs help, what will officials do with this new info?
“Where are these greatest prevalence risks for Alzheimer’s disease and then how do we target those communities with research and education and making sure that doctors and hospital clinic systems are better prepared to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease? Do they know what support and recourses are available?” asked Parriott.
Parriott says memory problems are typically one of the first signs of the disease, so, recognizing symptoms early can help you and those around you prepare more for it.

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