The Use of Visual Analog Scales to Compare Pain Between Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease and Patients Without Any Known Neurodegenerative Disease and Their Caregivers

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Abstract

Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) tend to underestimate their pain degree as disease progresses. Their caregivers are the most important source of information by providing regular pain evaluation. Our objectives were to compare pain intensity and affective pain between patients with AD and cognitively normal individuals (N) and to evaluate differences in pain perception between their caregivers. We evaluated pain scores of 121 patients with chronic osteoarticular pain, 60 AD, and 61 N using the colored pain scale/faces pain scale and the caregiver’s perception. Data were analyzed using one and two-tailed paired t tests (P < .05). We found that the AD group reported less pain intensity and that their pain was less perceived by their caregiver. This study also points to the need of, when evaluating patients with ADalways measure their pain degree using appropriate scales, instead of relying only on the caregiver.

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