A large number of people in the UK have a ‘shocking lack of understanding’ when it comes to dementia, latest survey results suggest.
According to a poll of more than 2,000 people aged 16 and over, more than half do not realise there is no cure for dementia, and 72% wrongly think it is mainly a hereditary illness.
The survey, conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society, also revealed that more than a third mistakenly think dementia is a ‘natural part of ageing’, and 26% think there is no way to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
Additionally, 45% of those surveyed thought that a history of mental illness increased the risk of developing dementia, even though there is no evidence to support this.
Many people were also unaware of the well established risk factors associated with dementia, with only 35% believing that smoking increased the risk, and 25% linking obesity to increased risk.
Sarah Day, head of public health at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Clearly there is still a shocking lack of understanding when it comes to dementia. The truth is dementia is not a natural part of ageing, it is caused by diseases of the brain and robs people of their lives.’