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Dementia overtakes heart disease as leading cause of death

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Dementia is now the most common cause of death Dementia is now the most common cause of death

Dementia is now the most common cause of death in England and Wales, overtaking cardiovascular conditions, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have found.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s accounted for 11.6% of all deaths registered in 2015, with over a total of 61,686 people. Heart diseases were the second leading cause of death in England and Wales, with 11.5% of all deaths registered in 2015.

‘Some of the increase can be explained by a rise in diagnosis rates and a change in the way dementia is recorded on death certificates, offering a more accurate picture of the impact of dementia,’ said Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK. ‘With growing numbers of people living with dementia, we urgently need treatments that can stop or slow the diseases that drive this devastating condition.

Gender variations still occur in death rates. For males, heart disease is still the leading cause of death accounting for 14.3% of all male deaths in 2015, down from 14.8% in 2014. In comparison, the leading cause of death in women was dementia accounting for 15.2% of all female deaths, up from 13.4% in 2014.

‘Thanks to better treatments and prevention programmes, deaths from many other serious conditions have been steadily dropping: now we must do the same for dementia,’ said Ms Evans. ‘Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing, it’s caused by diseases that can be fought through research, and we must bring all our efforts to bear on what is now our greatest medical challenge.’

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Comments

I am SO pleased that this statistic has made headline news as it may at last mean that research into. the various forms of dementia will at long last see some really major funding. Heart disease and cancer have been the major bogeymen for so many decades and progress in treatments and care of those conditions has been miraculous. This is a wake-up call to the public that dementia, for so long desperately underfunded in terms of research and care, is just as much a killer, and needs to be recognised as such.
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Dementia needs to be recognised as a life-limiting illness. Much of dementia awareness has been far too light weight in my opinion. We do not want to alarm people but the gravity of the condition, for both person with dementia and their family, should not be ignored.
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