Objective It is well established that chronic non-communicable diseases (CND) are linked to early cognitive impairment (CI) before or at the beginning of the old age, bringing those patients at higher risk for dementia.
The aim: to evaluate CI of aged 60 or older cognitively healthy patients visiting doctors due to different CND
Methods 107 patients aged 60 or older (mean age 74 years; 44 male, 63 female; 25 were visiting general practitioner (GP), 21 – neurologist (NE), 23 – pulmonologist (PU), 38 – otorhinolaryngologist (OT)) for their CND took part in pilot cross sectional study. They filled The Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), Subjective Cognitive Complaints (SCCs), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Results were compared using Pearson Chi-Square and one-way ANOVA.
Results OT patients had higher CFQ results (M=30.7) comparing to all groups (GP M=24.3; NE M=22.6, PU M=18.3, p=0.001). PU patients had less problems with Forgetfulness (M=8.6), comparing to GP (M=11.4) or OT (M=12.4) groups (p=0.022). OT (M=9.3) had more problems with Distractibility comparing to PU (M=5.7) and GP (M=6.7) groups (p=0.011). OT had higher scores in False Triggering (M=7.9) comparing to GP (M=5.92), NE (M=5.8) and PU (4.8) groups (p=0.011).
The cut-off point of row score 45 was overstepped in18.9% of OT group, 8% of GP group, but none in NE or PU group (p=0.026). Results of MMSE showed alike tendencies: PU patients (M=27.8) had higher results than GP (M=25.7) or OT (M=25.6) groups (p=0.029). CI was found in 39.1% of GP and 35.1% of OT, comparing to 19.0% in NE and 3.7% in PU groups (p=0.020). But groups did not differ by SCCs scores, even if 3 or more complains were found in 50.0% of GP, 52.2% of PU, 42.9% of NE and 71.1% OT groups. The only SCCs question where found differences between groups – limitation of daily activities: concerning about possible mistakes 62.5% of GP and PU groups would ask somebody’s help, while it would be done by 52.4% of NE and only 15.8% of OT group (p<0.001).
Conclusions Cognitive health in elderly people with CND is not monitored well. About 2/3 of them have subjective cognitive complains (3 or more by SCCs), 1/4 would be named as having CI by MMSE, 8.5% have problems due to forgetfulness, distractibility, false triggering. Cognitive functions are predominantly impaired in OT group patients, however, they declare less need for helping them.
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