Women with dementia receive less medical care than men, study shows

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Female dementia patients are more likely to take potentially harmful medication and receive less health monitoring than their male counterparts, according to a new study.

Research published online on Sunday in Age and Ageing found that overall, people with dementia received less medical care than those without the condition. Only half of people with dementia had an annual primary care checkup.

Women with dementia were found to have lower rates of annual weight and blood pressure monitoring, as well as surgery consultations, from primary care physicians.

Women were more likely than men to take psychotropic medications, such as antipsychotics or sedatives, which may not always be prescribed appropriately and have been shown to have negative effects when used long-term. Female patients also stayed on the medications longer, likely due to having fewer checkups to gauge if their prescriptions were still appropriate.

The study's findings indicate a need for improved healthcare access and reduced antipsychotic use for people with dementia, especially women, in order to help them “live well ... for longer,” said lead researcher Claudia Cooper, MSc, with University College London.