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Having dementia is expensive, patients waking during operations and why statins could help diabetic patients

Dementia patients and their families are being forced to pay for a huge chunk of their care themselves, the Guardian reports.

Out of the overall UK cost of dementia through health and care cost of £26bn, the patients and families pay approximately £17.4bn annually, the Alzheimers Society said.

The Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: ‘If you have another disease, like cancer or heart disease, you actually get all your treatment on the NHS. If you have dementia, where there is no medical intervention that cures you or treats you other than ameliorates the condition at best, most of the support you need comes from social care and most of that comes from the individual family and the family carers or from a severely strapped social care system.’

Meanwhile the Telegraph reports that benzodiazepines, common drugs used to treat insomnia and anxiety, may increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers said there was a ‘strong suspicion’ that taking the drugs for more than three months was linked with a raised risk of having developed the disease five years later.

Also in the Telegraph, there are warnings that ‘hundreds of people’ are waking up during operations desite being given general anaesthetia. An audit by the Royal College of Anaesthetists said the majority of cases, in which patients reported feeling ‘tugging, stitching, hearing conversations and feeling pain’, could have been prevented.

Lastly, taking statins may help to prevent complications in diabetic patients that cause blindness and amputations. Comparing 15,679 regular statin users to 47,037 non-users, researchers found the statin users were 34% less likely to have developed the nerve disease diabetic neuropathy and 40% less likely to have diabetic retinopathy, the Times reports.