Women with dementia receive less medical attention than male counterparts

Females diagnosed with dementia receive less health monitoring, attend fewer primary care visits and take more potentially harmful psychotropic medication than men suffering from the chronic mental disorder, according to a recent study published in the journal Age and Ageing.

For the study, researchers examined the primary care records of more than 68,000 dementia patients and compared them with more than 259,000 control patients without dementia. Analysis revealed only half of patients with dementia received a documented annual review. Additionally, women with dementia had lower rates of surgery consultations, annual blood pressure monitoring and annual weight monitoring. Female dementia patients were also prescribed psychotropic medication — which can adversely impact physical health — more often than their male counterparts.

"As women tend to live longer than men, they are more likely to live alone without a family carer to help them access healthcare," said Dr. Claudia Cooper, University College London. "Women with dementia who live on their own may need additional support accessing healthcare services. We should ensure GPs [general practitioners] have the resources to proactively engage with these patients and review their condition regularly to make sure their treatment plan, including any drugs, [is] appropriate."

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