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Hundreds thought to be in dark over dementia

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 15, 2013

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MORE than half of people suffering with dementia in the region don’t know they have the disease, experts have predicted.

Shocking statistics released by the Alzheimer’s Society revealed that just 39 per cent of people with dementia in Staffordshire have actually been diagnosed as having the disease, and 42 per cent in Derbyshire, meaning many people will be unaware they are sufferers or have yet to seek medical assistance.

But health experts believe they are on the right track in helping to bridge that gap and being able to provide care for everyone that needs it, as they attempt to ensure no-one suffers in silence.

Diagnosis rates are currently climbing and are only expected to continue rising and, while health experts are boosted by that fact, with around 60 per cent of sufferers in the region remaining in the dark regarding their condition, they insist there is still more that can be done.

Around 1,100 people in Burton are thought to be living with dementia, with the vast majority of that number in people over the age of 75, meaning there are potentially hundreds with no idea they have the condition.

Ian Howarth, area manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in the East Midlands, insisted that it was important that people were not only made aware they had the disease but were also assisted in how to live with it in as much comfort as possible.

He said: “It’s encouraging to see an increase in the number people that are receiving a diagnosis in the East Midlands, but half of people that are living with dementia aren’t receiving the support, benefits and the treatments that are often available.

“The NHS has made a commitment to improve diagnosis rates so now it is time for that commitment to turn into action locally, to help ensure people in the East Midlands can live well with the condition.”

Sharon Wright, support service manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in Staffordshire, said: “We’re trying to raise awareness for dementia and would encourage people to contact their GP if they have any concerns.”

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