More than 1,500 older people may be living with undiagnosed dementia in the East Riding, new figures suggest.
The Alzheimer’s Society says that, while diagnosis rates for the condition have improved in recent years, the level of detection varies drastically across England – with the disease now thought to be the country’s biggest killer.
NHS Digital data shows that 3,362 people aged 65 or over in the East Riding had a recorded dementia diagnosis in September.
But estimates in the same data, based on the local population, suggest the real number could be 5,211, meaning around 1,849 pensioners may have dementia without it being recorded by their doctor.
Office for National Statistics figures released earlier this year revealed that dementia and Alzheimer’s accounted for around one in eight deaths registered in England and Wales last year – the leading cause.
The numbers show that about 65% of expected dementia sufferers in the East Riding were diagnosed in September, just short of the target.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said early diagnosis of dementia was not always in the best interests of the patient.
But she said increased diagnosis in recent years showed GPs’ recognition of how important it is to get patients the treatment they need.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “More people are being diagnosed with dementia than ever before, and we are committed to improving this further with better access to care and support, increasing public awareness and putting millions of pounds of funding into dementia research.”