Concerns 2,400 Wiltshire residents living with undiagnosed dementia

Concerns 2,400 Wiltshire residents living with undiagnosed dementia

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 11:04am 21st October 2019.

3 minute read

The disease is now thought to be the country's biggest killer.

The Alzheimer's Society says that while diagnosis rates for for the condition have improved in recent years, the level of detection various drastically across England.

NHS Digital data shows that 4,681 people aged 65 or over in Wiltshire had a recorded dementia diagnosis in September.

But estimates in the same data, based on the local population, suggest the real number could be 7,125, meaning around 2,444 pensioners in the county may have dementia without it being recorded by their doctor.

Office for National Statistics figures released earlier this year revealed that dementia and Alzheimer’s accounted for around one in eight deaths registered in England and Wales last year – the leading cause.

The NHS figures were collected in response to former prime minister David Cameron’s Challenge on Dementia 2020, which included a target for at least two-thirds of people with dementia to be diagnosed.

The numbers show that about 66% of expected dementia sufferers in Wiltshire were diagnosed in September, roughly in line with the target.

It was also about the same as the previous September.

Dementia 2 jpg

Across England, 462,000 older people had recorded dementia in September – around 69% of those estimated to have it.

But the detection rate varied dramatically throughout the country  Enfield in London had a recorded diagnosis rate of 93%, while in South Hams in Devon, it was just 43%.

Sally Copley from the Alzheimer’s Society said the disparity was "worrying".

"The number of people with dementia is set to double over the next two decades, and as data shows, it’s still the UK’s biggest killer.

"It has never been more urgent to ensure a proper system of social care is in place."

Dementia is a term used to describe symptoms such as loss of memory, behaviour changes and problems in reasoning.

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, but it can result from brain damage caused by a stroke or neurological conditions such as Parkinson's.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: 

"More people are being diagnosed with dementia than ever before, and we are committed to improving this further with better access to care and support, increasing public awareness and putting millions of pounds of funding into dementia research"

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