Northern Ireland

Belfast has UK's highest dementia diagnosis rate, report says

Person with dementia
Image caption A total of 11,800 people in Northern Ireland have been diagnosed as having dementia

Belfast has the highest diagnosis rate of dementia in the UK, according to new figures released by the Alzheimer's Society.

In the past year there has been an increase of 600 patients in Northern Ireland, bringing the total to 11,800.

The figures are part of a national report that shows dramatic variations across the UK.

They range from a diagnosis rate of 32% in East Riding in Yorkshire to 63% in Northern Ireland.

The UK average is 46%. The diagnosis rate for Belfast is 75.5%.

Experts believe that family doctors are now better equipped to spot the signs of dementia.

These figures are almost bitter sweet - on the one hand they show a worrying increase in the number of people in Northern Ireland being diagnosed with dementia.

On the other, they also indicate that the local health trusts are in the top five best areas in the UK for diagnosing the disease.

While there are now 11,800 men and women with the condition, it is thought that there could be around 7,000 others who have the debilitating illness.

The Alzheimer's Society has urged the public to visit their roadshow which starts a tour of Northern Ireland this week.

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