• In 2013/14 there were 344,000 people in England who had been diagnosed
  • This is up from 213,000 in 2006/7, the official figures show
  • Ageing population and better awareness could be part of the reason

dementiaThe number of people diagnosed with dementia has soared by 62 per cent in the last seven years, new figures show.

An ageing population, improved diagnosis and better awareness could all be reasons why, experts said today.

Today’s statistics show that in 2013/14 there were 344,000 people in England who had received a diagnosis of dementia.

This is up from 213,000 in 2006/7, according to the figures, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Symptoms of the condition include memory loss, changes in mood or behaviour, changes in personality and misplacing things.

‘We are all aware of the challenges facing our ageing population and these figures will be vital for those planning and monitoring the effectiveness of dementia treatments and services,’ said HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning.

George McNamara, head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer’s Society charity, said: “More people with dementia may now be known by their GP and registered as having the condition, but the stark reality is that hundreds of thousands still face the life-altering diagnosis of dementia alone, without any support or information.’

He added that over half of people living with dementia still do not have a diagnosis and with an ageing population, diagnosing the condition must remain a priority.

‘While it is one of the most feared conditions for those over 55, everyone has a right to know they are living with dementia and deserves the chance to access available treatments and support,’ he added

Hilary Evans, director of external affairs at the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the new statistics provided some idea of the scale of the challenge in England.

‘While this report does not set out to investigate the reasons for the rising figures, it’s likely that recent moves to improve dementia diagnosis rates, along with an ageing population, will have contributed to this increase,’ she said.

Earlier this month a global report said the rate of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is falling in the United States and some other rich countries.

However, the epidemic is still growing simply because more people are living to an old age.

An American over age 60 today has a 44 percent lower chance of developing dementia than a similar-aged person did roughly 30 years ago, the longest study of these trends in the U.S. concluded.

Originally posted 2014-08-02 09:21:48.