Shocking new research conducted by University College London has revealed that female dementia patients are facing gender discrimination when it comes to their medical treatment.
Researchers at UCL analysed the medical records of 68,000 dementia patients and 259,000 dementia sufferers, from 2002 to 2013, and found that women who are affected have fewer GP visits. Not only that, they receive less monitoring and take more potentially harmful medication than their male counterparts.
This gender gap is particularly concerning when you consider that women are more likely to suffer from dementia – living longer than men, the disease is more likely to set in in later life.
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, out of a total of 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, 500,000 are women. In fact, dementia has become the leading cause of death amongst British women, which makes UCL’s research a particularly unsettling read.
This latest study reveals, that despite improvements having being made since 2009
(linked to the government’s National Dementia Strategy), women are still
falling short and more work needs to be done to ensure they are given
the treatment and care they so desperately need.
‘Everyone with dementia should have an annual review,’ George McNamara,
Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society, says on the charity’s website.
‘But this research raises some grave concerns that women, who are
disproportionately affected by the condition, aren’t getting the support
they need. What is particularly worrying is that medication
isn’t been reviewed regularly, which could lead to the prolonged and
unnecessary use of antipsychotics.’
For the Alzheimer’s Society, readily available
support is key. ‘For many people this will be in the form of a family
carer, however many are left by Government to rely on charities or
threadbare social care services,’ McNamara explains. ‘We need to see an
end to the increasingly impossible environment in which these services
operate as a matter of urgency.
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‘The Alzheimer’s Society provides a range of support services and practical tools. If you, or someone you know, is suffering from Alzheimer’s, call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or visit the Talking Point online discussion forum at alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint.