Doctors failing to diagnose early stage dementia

Dementia sufferers are being left without access to vital treatment because doctors are failing to diagnose their condition in its early stages.

This is the conclusion of a new study by scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC), which found that people diagnosed by their GPs have a shorter life expectancy than those actively screened for the condition.

Indeed, the research showed that patients aged 60 to 69 can expect to live for another 6.7 years following a diagnosis by their family doctor.

By comparison, those in the same age group who undergo screening for dementia have an average of 10.7 years left to live.

Professor Chris Kennard, chairman of the MRC, said: "It is clear that too little too late is being done to diagnose dementia.

"It's estimated that 80 million people worldwide will be affected by dementia by 2040 so it's crucial GPs are given the support and training they need to get to grips with identifying dementia accurately and as early as possible," he stated.

With this statistic in mind, older people may wish to consider making a lasting power of attorney to allow a family or friend to make decisionsĀ on their behalf about their finances and health and welfare should they be affected by dementia.

Posted by Christopher Evans

Published on: August 11, 2010

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