Belfast Telegraph

Map reveals Northern Ireland's dementia hotspot

By Jane Kirby

Northern Ireland's worst area for dementia has been revealed.

North Antrim  has the highest number of sufferers, according to new interactive maps released by a charity.

The maps show the UK areas most affected by the illness, with coastal towns and areas popular with retired people featuring heavily in the list.

Christchurch in Dorset has the highest prevalence of dementia per head of population at 28 cases per 1,000 people, according to the maps compiled by Alzheimer's Research UK.

There are 2,400 people in the constituency with dementia. After Christchurch comes New Forest West with 27 cases per 1,000 people, followed jointly by North Norfolk, Clacton and Worthing West, each with 24 cases per 1,000 people.

The areas with the highest prevalence typically have between 1,500 and 2,700 people suffering dementia.

In terms of the Northern Ireland analysis, North Antrim has 1,368 sufferers - the highest total of our 18 parliamentary constituencies.

North Down (1,329), Lagan Valley (1,259) and Upper Bann (1,250) also have a high number of people living with the illness.

The five constituencies with the lowest levels of dementia are mostly in London. Poplar and Limehouse has four dementia cases per 1,000 people, followed jointly by West Ham, Bethnal Green and Bow, Manchester Central and Hackney South and Shoreditch, each with five cases per 1,000 people.

There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, but this is expected to rise to one million by 2025 as people live longer.

Dr Matthew Norton, director of policy at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "Dementia is our greatest medical challenge and with our ageing population, the number of people affected by this devastating condition is only going to rise.

"Today, one in three people have a family member or close friend with dementia.

"Despite this, there is still a worrying lack of public understanding about the condition, which is why we have developed the dementia hotspot maps.

"As the UK's leading dementia research charity, one of our biggest challenges is to empower people with the knowledge that this cruel and unforgiving condition can be defeated.

"Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing, it is caused by diseases."

The maps - broken down by constituency or clinical commissioning group area - can be found at www.dementiastatistics.org/statistics/dementia-maps.

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