Dementia is a degenerative disease of the brain which over time can result in gradual loss of mental awareness, memory, general communication and skills to carry our daily activities, as well as personality change. The speed of progression is variable but typically develops slowly over a number of years.
Diagnosis rates for dementia have been historically low, meaning many people have not received appropriate treatment to manage their condition. There are 4,143 registered patients diagnosed with dementia in Warwickshire. However, there are an estimated 7,634 individuals in Warwickshire with dementia, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. This gives an estimated dementia diagnosis rate of 54.3% for Warwickshire.
Over the next five years (2015-2020), the prevalence of dementia is projected to increase by 18% in those aged 65 and over. The largest projected increase is in Stratford-on-Avon District (20.4%) in those aged 65 and over, followed by Rugby Borough (18.4%).
The prevalence of dementia in those aged 65 and over is projected to grow at a faster rate in Warwickshire than the West Midlands (15.2%) and England (14.8%) equivalents.
In England, it projected that there will be over 100,000 more dementia patients in 2020, than in 2015. The Public Health Outcomes Framework suggests that in England, the estimated diagnosis rate is 52.8% (2013/14), which is comparable to the Warwickshire rate (54.3%).
Currently just over half of the people living with dementia in Warwickshire have received a diagnosis, but an early diagnosis can be very important in ensuring that people are able to maintain the quality of life that they had previously enjoyed and have access to appropriate support and services. Although dementia is incurable, early diagnosis can allow access to medications that can be used to effectively slow down the progression of the illness.
Dementia is known to be more prominent amongst females, a trend which is expected to continue in the future. However, below the age of 75, the prevalence appears to be slightly higher in males than females.
Prevalence of dementia is higher in absolute numbers, in the south of the county, this is due to having a larger and older population.