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Dementia cases surge 62% in 7 years

The number of people diagnosed with dementia has soared in the last seven years, new figures show.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) said the number of patients with a recorded diagnosis of dementia has increased by 62%.

In 2013/14 there were 344,000 people in England who had received a diagnosis - up from 213,000 in 2006/7.

The rise could be attributed to an ageing population, improved recording in diagnosis or a number of other factors, the HSCIC said.

"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.

"Whilst a rise in diagnosis does show progress, over half of people living with dementia still do not have one. With an ageing population and more people developing the condition, diagnosing dementia must remain a priority.

"Whilst 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."

Hilary Evans, director of external affairs at the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, added: "These new statistics do not tell us how many people are living with the condition in total as not every case is currently diagnosed, but they do give us some idea of the scale of the challenge in England.

"This report does not set out to investigate the reasons for the rising figures, but it's likely that recent moves to improve dementia diagnosis rates, along with an ageing population, will have contributed to this increase.

"Dementia is one of the most feared conditions for many, but an accurate and timely diagnosis can be important for people to be able to access support and existing treatments - as well as helping people to make sense of the symptoms they are experiencing. These latest figures further underline the urgent need for better treatments to help the hundreds of thousands of people who are affected by this devastating condition."

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