Dementia is still the leading cause of death in the UK

According to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), dementia is still the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

In 2016, dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease was responsible for 62,948 deaths (12% of all deaths), up from 11.6% in 2015. In addition, the stats show that women are more likely to die from dementia than men because they live longer. In 2016 dementia was responsible for 15.6% of all female deaths.

Only in the previous year, dementia overtook heart disease as the leading cause of death. However in 2016 men are still more likely to die from ischaemic heart diseases (13.7% of all male deaths).

Commenting on the rise, Vasita Patel, from the ONS, said: “Although general increases in longevity and improved treatment of other conditions are part of the reason for this increase, improvements in recognition, identification and diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have also contributed.”

Medical experts have been warning that more needs to be done to combat dementia. In response to the latest figures, head of policy and campaigns at the Alzheimer’s Society, Nicola O’Brien said: “This is a further wake-up call that the UK is woefully underprepared to cope with the scale of the challenge.”

She added: “Dementia is both a terminal illness, and a condition that people can live with for many years, but our health and social care system is not in a position to cope.

“As a result, we know thousands and thousands of people with dementia aren’t getting access to the right care and support to allow them to live well, and to die well.”

Death rates from dementia have more than doubled over the last five years with the over-65s known to be most at risk. There are currently 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia.

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