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CCG urges people with dementia worries to visit GP

Dates: 20, September, 2018 Category: CCG News Health advice

People across Lincolnshire are being urged to talk to their GP if they are concerned that either they or a friend or relative has dementia.

Often undiagnosed, dementia and its symptoms can be mistaken for old age.

This has the unfortunate outcome that many people are left confused about whether they have dementia or not.

Slow down symptoms

Currently, 670,000 people are estimated to be living with dementia in England, but only around half have been formally diagnosed.

In West Lincolnshire, 68.2 per cent of people estimated to have dementia have been diagnosed.  Whilst dementia cannot be cured, early detection can slow down symptoms.

Dementia is a term used to describe different disorders that can trigger a loss of brain function, the most common being Alzheimer’s.

The symptoms to look out for include memory loss, confusion and problems with understanding and speech.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for more than half of all cases of dementia. It results in the brain shrinking and the number of nerve fibres in the brain gradually reducing.

It is not known why this happens or exactly how they cause dementia.

Diagnosis

“With the right support people diagnosed with dementia can lead active and fulfilling lives,” said Dr Sunil Hindocha, chief clinical officer at NHS Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group.

“This is why diagnosis of dementia is so critical.

“Although there is much about Alzheimer’s we don’t yet understand, we do know it tends to progress gradually over time.

“The second most common type we see is vascular dementia. This is caused by a reduction of blood flow to the brain, and often caused by a stroke or series of small strokes.”

The symptoms of dementia can be difficult to diagnose as they can vary from person to person. Often it is a family member or carer that notices changes, rather than the person themselves.

Visit your GP

“Visiting your GP is usually the first step in getting a diagnosis,” added Dr Hindocha.

“We will look at your medical history and carry out a physical examination to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.  Ultimately, if we feel dementia is a possibility we may refer you on to see a specialist.”

For people concerned they may have dementia or those with a diagnosis of dementia, as well as their families, friends and carers, there is a wide range of information available, including the Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline 0300 222 1122.

Alternatively visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/memoryworry

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