Late diagnosis behind thousands of dementia deaths

August 6th, 2010 - 4:55 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 6 (IANS) Thousands of dementia patients are dying at least four years earlier than those screened at the right time. This suggests many are finally diagnosed at a time of crisis or when the disease has already taken a strong hold.
Scientists from the Medical Research Council, Britain, analysed health records of 135,000 patients, aged 60 and over, for life expectancy after dementia recorded by their physicians, reports the Daily Mail.

Experts found those aged 60 to 69 had an average life expectancy of 6.7 years once diagnosed.

The research also revealed death rates are more than three times higher in sufferers in the first year after physicians’ diagnosis than in those without the condition.

Professor Chris Kennard, chairman of the Medical Research Council Neuroscience and Mental Health Board, said: “It’s estimated that 80 million people worldwide will be affected by dementia by 2040.”

“So it’s crucial GPs (general practitioners) are given the support and training they need to get to grips with identifying dementia accurately and as early as possible,” he added.

Kennard said: “It’s clear that too little too late is being done to diagnose dementia.”

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