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49% don't know that dementia is a fatal disease

Image credit: Health Line

NEW RESEARCH has revealed that many people still associate dementia mainly with memory loss, with 81% of Brits thinking difficulty remembering recent events is a symptom of dementia. Awareness of other symptoms among the British public is lacking.

In addition, almost half (49%) of respondents surveyed didn’t realise that dementia is a fatal disease.

Despite people fearing developing dementia or Alzheimer’s the most (38%) compared to cancer (26%) and heart disease (6%), many are still unaware of symptoms of the disease beyond memory loss.

The YouGov survey was commissioned by award-winning brain health experts Re:Cognition Health.

It was reassuring to researchers to discover that 87% of respondents believed that early detection of dementia can make a difference to the future health of the individual.

Dr. Emer MacSweeney, CEO and Medical Director of Re:Cognition Health said:

"Early intervention and accurate diagnosis of the specific cause of a person’s dementia is key to ensuring the individual receives access to the correct and best treatment, at the earliest stage. In order to receive an early diagnosis, it is essential to recognise symptoms as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the survey highlights that the general public is not yet sufficiently well informed."


Image credit: Re:Cognition Health/Twitter

Existing medications, available through the health service, can manage only the symptoms, rather than slow their, otherwise relentless, progression.

Dr MacSweeney continues:

"There is a difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms of cognitive impairment such as memory loss, change in mood and behaviour, difficulty with language and decision-making, which have progressed to a stage where the individual is no longer able to undertake all their daily activities independently. Alzheimer’s is one cause of dementia, whilst vascular dementia and Parkinson’s disease are other causes. It’s important to get an early diagnosis of the individual’s exact cause of dementia in order to access appropriate treatment."

Dr MacSweeney adds:

"Dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales."

EARLY SYMPTOMS OF DEMENTIA INCLUDE:

• Short term memory loss

• Repeatedly asking the same questions

• Unexpected / uncharacterised anger and changes in mood and behaviour

• Confusion

• Forgetting words / problems with speech and language

• Loss of sense of direction / disorientation

• Difficulty in performing everyday tasks

• Misplacing items

• Difficulty making decisions and planning

• Issues with balancing and spatial awareness.

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