This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Dementia overtakes heart disease as leading cause of death

Written by: | Published:

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.’

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.


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.
Posted by: ,
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.
Posted by: ,

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.