The fear that they may be diagnosed for potential dementia prevents many people from seeking an early diagnosis of the disease.
A survey carried out by the Alzheimer’s Society revealed that more than half of those seeking a diagnosis for the disease have delayed going to their GP by at least a year.
Dementia is a term used to describe various symptoms of cognitive decline. However, it is not a clinical diagnosis by itself until an underlying disease or disorder has been identified.
Dementia is a collective term that can be used to describe the cognitive problems that people with underlying brain disorders or damage can have with memory, language and thinking.
There are around 850,000 people in the UK with a form of disease. The figure for the disease is predicted to rise to one million in less than 10 years and to two million by 2051.
The charity said that nearly two-thirds of people fear a diagnosis of the disease would mean that their life is over, as they know it.
The survey of 2,000 adults showed that nearly half of them thought they would have to stop driving immediately, while around 20% felt that they may lose their partner or friends if they were diagnosed with dementia.
Also, nearly 60% of the respondents thought it would be difficult for them to join in conversations, while around 50% felt that they would be perceived as “mad” if they were diagnosed with potential dementia.
However, the charity stressed that an early diagnosis of the disease does not hamper with the normal life of people and can actually help people to live as well as possible.
The organisation also stressed the need for everyone to deal head-on with the challenges posed by dementia.
The myths surrounding dementia often prevent people from getting the best possible treatment for the disease and also from making plans for the future, the charity said.
The charity also added that about 33% of the people surveyed said that that they didn’t seek any diagnosis as they linked memory problems with the ageing process.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said,
“Too many people are in the dark about dementia – many feel that a dementia diagnosis means someone is immediately incapable of living a normal life, while myths and misunderstandings continue to contribute to the stigma and isolation that many people will feel.”
He stressed the need to reassure people that the disease does not mean the end of their lives.
“There’s no question that it can have a profound and devastating impact on people, their family and friends – but getting a timely diagnosis will enable people with dementia to live as well as possible.”