Dementia is not a disease, but a collection of symptoms caused by a number of different conditions which affect the brain and the vascular system. There are many different types of dementia although some are far more common than others, with Alzheimer's disease accounting for the majority of cases, followed by vascular dementia.

Other common forms include mixed dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, dementia with Parkinson's disease and frontotemporal dementia (Pick's disease). Some of the less common forms of dementia include alcohol-related dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), and Korsakoff's syndrome. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, but medication can slow down the progression of the condition, allowing the symptoms to be managed for some people.

The cause of most dementias is unknown but is likely to be due to an interaction of a number of factors. It is important to understand having the risk factors does not mean a person will develop dementia, and conversely the absence of the risk factors does not guarantee a person will not develop the condition. Some of the risk factors include:

  • age;
  • cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension and stroke;
  • depression;
  • diabetes;
  • environmental factors; 
  • excessive alcohol consumption;
  • genetic susceptibility;
  • midlife obesity;
  • poor diet/nutrition;
  • psychosocial stress (increased hormones such as cortisone); and
  • smoking.

For further information please see Lancashire County Council dementia campaign webpage

Local intelligence

Estimated dementia prevalence figures, produced using Office for National Statistics 2014-based projected 2017 population figures suggest that there are 19,344 people, aged 30+ living with dementia in Lancashire-14. The majority (95%, 18,315) of these are estimated to be aged 65 or over, with the remaining 5% (1,029) believed to be aged 30-64. This is known as early onset dementia (sometimes referred to as young person's dementia), and a full report on this topic can be found at the bottom this page. At a district level, estimated dementia prevalence in the 30+ years population ranges from 2.6% in Fylde to 1.5% in Blackburn with Darwen. Benchmarking analysis against the locally estimated England 30+ dementia prevalence suggests that the districts of Blackpool (2.1%), Fylde (2.6%), Ribble valley (2.3%), West Lancashire (2.2%) and Wyre (2.6%) all have significantly higher levels of dementia.

The latest recorded dementia prevalence figures, which refer to persons with a confirmed dementia diagnosis, come from the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and show that at March 2016 there were 10,347 persons living with dementia registered to the six clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Lancashire-12. Fylde & Wyre CCG (1.2%, 1,833), Lancashire North CCG (1.0%, 1,578) and West Lancashire CCG (0.9%, 1,062) all record a prevalence significantly above the England average (0.8%). The neighbouring CCG in Blackpool (1.0%, 1,704) also recorded a prevalence significantly above the national average.

The latest diagnosis figures (August 2017) show that all 8 of the Lancashire-14 CCGs are meeting the national 67.7% diagnosis target.

Further key facts and figures around dementia are available in the dementia local intelligence data tables, July 2017 update (XLSM 4.1 MB). 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) also provides comprehensive guidelines around health and social care needs for people with dementia.

Young onset dementia

Young onset dementia is dementia that affects people under 65 years of age. In August 2016 we published a needs assessment for young onset dementia in Lancashire-12 looking at the current prevalence, future projections, causes, risk factors and the impact of the syndromes on younger people and their carers. The report should influence the way we support people with dementia in Lancashire. The findings and recommendations will be used for the creation of a new dementia strategy for Lancashire. Below are some key points from the analysis.

  • Younger people with dementia have a unique set of difficulties and opportunities compared to older people with dementia.
  • Learning disabilities are a risk factor for young onset dementia, and many other risk factors relate to lifestyle and the effective management of existing conditions.
  • It is difficult to establish an accurate prevalence of YOD but this report has highlighted that there is a substantial gap between estimated and diagnosed prevalence. There could be more than 800 people in Lancashire-12 with YOD and around 470 of these could be undiagnosed.
  • Prompt diagnosis can help people with YOD to manage their condition and achieve a better quality of life, while, in some cases, appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes can help slow the progression of the underlying disease.
  • Working and volunteering are known to promote positive mental wellbeing. Many people with YOD are still able to be economically active, so it is important to support these individuals to obtain work and remain in work for as long as they desire.

Further analysis and data

Young onset dementia in Lancashire-12.pdf (PDF 884 KB)

Dementia local intelligence data tables, July 2017 update (XLSM  4.1 MB)

Page updated October 2017