Dementia killed more women than Covid in 2020

The office for national statistics has revealed that Dementia killed more women in 2020 than Covid-19.

In 2020 Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease killed 45,922 women and was the leading cause of death in England and Wales. For men Covid-19 was the biggest killer with Dementia registering as the third most common, killing more than 24,000.

Overall figures show that while Covid-19 was the leading cause of death, with 73,766 fatalities accounting for 12.1 per cent of deaths, those caused by Dementia and Alzheimer’s were only slightly less at 11.5 per cent of the total number of deaths registered.

It is unclear why women are so badly affected by Dementia, in the UK women make up two-thirds of those with the disease. Susan Kohlhaas, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK said,

“scientists have been delving deeper into the biological variations that could be underlying this”.

Research also shows that one in three people in the UK today will develop the condition.

David Thomas, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, commented saying that,

“these figures underline the urgency with which we must tackle Alzheimer’s disease and dementia”.

Health leaders and experts have warned that more needs to be done to overcome the disease by improving diagnosis and developing more treatments, and that a global effort similar to that made to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, was required.

Thomas stated that,

“our scientific community has risen superbly to the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, showing what can be achieved when people work together in the face of a significant health challenge. It is now vital that a similar approach is taken to tackling dementia”.

Although the Government was set to double the amount of research funding available for Dementia before the 2019 election, reports show that research has either been delayed or paused during the pandemic, and funding has not been increased as promised.

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK commented,

“with the number of people with dementia set to triple, we need to see concerted global action now”.

“To safeguard progress and improve outcomes around the world, it’s vital our government invests to maintain the UK as a global hub for dementia research to safeguard research progress and improve outcomes around the world.”

There is currently no cure for the disease but a promising new drug, the first in over 20 years, has been given conditional approval for use in the US with the UK and Europe to follow suit shortly. Aducanumab works by targeting proteins in the brain and could make clear progress in the fight against the disease.

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