About 1 in 8 Americans at least 60 years old reported confusion or memory loss in the preceding 12 months, according to health officials, highlighting the need to be alert for early signs of dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

About one-third of those Americans said they also had functional difficulties, including the ability to work or do household chores, according to a report Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The study also said only 19 percent of the people with memory loss or confusion discussed their problems with a health-care provider.

The results were from a 2011 survey of almost 60,000 people in 21 states, the CDC said.

More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's, and the number may triple by 2050, according to the National Institutes of Health.

With as many as two-thirds of all cases of dementia going undiagnosed, the report underscores the need for health-care workers to initiate talks with patients about the issue, the CDC said.

Discussions about symptoms and possible causes of cognitive decline "enables individuals and family members to better anticipate needs and plan for the future," the CDC said in a statement accompanying the report.

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There is no known cure for Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia.