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Dementia poses a major challenge to healthcare systems around the world at the best times. However, the pandemic has fanned the flames, a new report has found. It has seen a reduction in the proportion of patients receiving a diagnosis, with the number falling below 60 percent – missing the Government target of two thirds.
More than ever, it’s vital to heed the warning signs and take the appropriate steps to receive a diagnosis.
Key to this effort is to understand the spectrum of symptoms of dementia.
In addition to memory loss, lovegra website dementia can cause a host of behavioural and psychological symptoms.
A review published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology listed 12 common behavioural and psychological symptoms that “constitute a major component of the dementia syndrome irrespective of its subtype”.
The researchers said: “They are as clinically relevant as cognitive symptoms as they strongly correlate with the degree of functional and cognitive impairment.”
The symptoms to spot include:
- Aberrant motor behaviour
- Sleep or appetite changes.
According to the researchers, it’s estimated that behavioural and psychological symptoms affect up to 90 percent of all dementia subjects over the course of their illness, and is independently associated with poor outcomes, including distress among patients and caregivers, long-term hospitalisation, misuse of medication, and increased health care costs.
“Although these symptoms can be present individually it is more common that various psychopathological features co-occur simultaneously in the same patient.”
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They continued: “Thus, categorisation of BPSD [behavioural and psychological symptoms] in clusters taking into account their natural course, prognosis, and treatment response may be useful in the clinical practice.”
The analysis from Future Health, the healthcare policy research consultancy, looked at the impact of the pandemic on dementia diagnosis rates and regional variations of performance broken down by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
The report found that there are now over 325,000 people in England with the condition undiagnosed.
There are approximately 325,862 people living in England who have dementia which has yet to be diagnosed
This is based on the estimated prevalence levels of people with dementia (756,719) compared to those who have been formally registered as having the disease (430,857).
The report found the Midlands is home to the highest number of undiagnosed people with dementia, with over 60,000 people with the condition not yet diagnosed.
London and the North West have the lowest number of undiagnosed people living with dementia but both regions still have over 30,000 people undiagnosed.
At individual CCG level, Dorset, Norfolk and Fylde and Wyre have the most serious challenges, having some of the highest prevalence rates of dementia but some of the lowest diagnosis rates in the country, the report found.
What’s more, eighteen of the 22 CCGs with the highest rates of undiagnosed cases of dementia, have higher than average proportions of their populations living in rural areas.
The report also highlights a postcode lottery when it comes to diagnosis rates, with significant disparities between neighbouring CCGs in the same region. For example, in Stoke-on-Trent, 83 percent of estimated dementia patients have been diagnosed, while in neighbouring Stafford and Surrounds only 48 percent of people have been diagnosed.
The report also considered the economic impact of improving early diagnosis and treatment for the current population, estimating improvements in spotting and treating the disease earlier could lead to over £3billion in savings to the NHS and individual patients, through reduced healthcare usage and lower carer costs.
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