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THE fear of developing dementia is the biggest age-related health concern for millions of Britons aged 55 and over, according to research.
Fifty-six per cent of the age group say the devastating condition is one of their key worries about growing older, peaking at 59 per cent of those aged 65-74.
Forty-four per cent of those aged 55 and over are concerned about developing illnesses other than dementia, the study by consumer analysts Mintel found.
Away from health concerns, 26 per cent fear not having enough money for the future, while 25 per cent worry about having to move into a retirement home.
Additionally, 18 per cent and over fear loneliness and 15 per cent worry about being targeted by fraudsters.
However, highlighting that many are happy to grow old gracefully, the study found that only 8 per cent worry about looking older. Mintel said: ‘The sense of fear which enshrouds dementia arguably poses a very real risk to health, as it threatens to prevent people from becoming more informed about the condition.
‘It could also mean that people delay seeking a diagnosis if they are concerned that they are experiencing symptoms.'
Last month a study showed that GPs are failing to detect dementia in hundreds of thousands of patients. It suggested that a third of those affected by the illness do not realise it because they have not been given a formal diagnosis.
The study, by researchers at Cambridge, East Anglia and Newcastle universities, found that even those who were eventually diagnosed had to live with the disease for an average of three years before it was finally detected by GPs.
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