There are concerns that people in Mid-Ulster with dementia are going undiagnosed, according to statistics published by investigations and analysis website, The Detail.
Its interactive map shows the number of people diagnosed with dementia per 1,000 patients aged over 45 in each GP practice.
In Cookstown and Magherafelt, there is a relatively small number of people diagnosed with dementia in the districts’ surgeries. In Bellaghy, Maghera, Magherafelt and Draperstown, there are around 10 to 19 per 1,000 patients over 45 diagnosed, while in Cookstown, Stewartstown, Coagh and the figures are relatively similar with 10 to 24 patients per 1000 deemed as having dementia.
By contrast in Antrim, Belfast, Down, West Tyrone and Fermanagh, a slightly higher number of people aged over 45 have been diagnosed. Across Northern Ireland, the data from every GP practice shows there is a variation in the number of people with dementia.
The figures illustrate that across the Province, 16 per 1,000 aged 45 plus are listed by their GP as having some form of dementia. Some practices have very few diagnosed, adding weight to the fear that thousands are not being diagnosed and therefore living without treatment.
Mid-Ulster Dementia Support Group facilitator Ann Cardwell said she feels there is still a stigma attached to all forms of mental illness.
“This is a very difficult illness to speak about. Often the person living with it is so afraid to admit even to themselves they might have the illness and carers feel so guilty and disloyal to discuss their fears with anyone medical or otherwise until in some cases the situation becomes critical,” she pointed out.