DementiaCommonly linked to old age, dementia is a group of symptoms associated with the problems that people with various underlying brain disorders can have with their memory, language and thinking. The condition interferes with normal daily functions. Experts say preventing dementia would improve many lives and save billions.

A new study finds that the older adults with severe vitamin D deficiency are more than twice likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those with higher levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US and is believed to currently affect 5.3 million Americans.

Partially funded by the Alzheimer’s Association, the study was published online in Neurology journal, wherein the researchers spent six years examining around 1,600 people over 65 in the United States. Cognition was assessed through repeat MRI examinations, medical records, questionnaires, and annual cognitive assessments.

The subjects, at the start of the study were all free from dementia. Over the course of the study, about 10 percent developed dementia. Blood samples were examined in two comparisons – between those who were healthy and those who had slight vitamin D deficiencies; and between healthy and severely deficient subjects.

The study showed that elderly people with a slight lack of vitamin D are 50 percent more likely to develop dementia, while those with a severe deficiency have a 120 percent greater likelihood.

However more research is needed to establish the cause and effect. Geriatricians, neurologists as well as other physicians providing treatment for this condition use relevant ICD codes to report the services. These codes change depending on whether it is ICD 9 or ICD 10 coding.

ICD-9-CM Codes

  • 290.0 Senile dementia, uncomplicated
  • 290.1 Presenile dementia
  • 290.2 Senile dementia with delusional or depressive features
  • 290.3 Senile dementia with delirium
  • 290.4 Vascular dementia
  • 290.8 Other specified senile psychotic conditions
  • 290.9 Unspecified senile psychotic condition

ICD-10-CM Codes

  • F03 Unspecified dementia
  • F03.9 Unspecified dementia
  • F03.90 – without behavioral disturbance
  • F03.91 – with behavioral disturbance

Earlier studies havefound that people with diabetes can also face an increased risk of dementia.