New research has suggested that dementia has overtaken heart disease as the most common cause of death in England and Wales.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 61,000 people died from dementia last year. This represents 11.6 percent of deaths. Most cases (41,283) affected women.
Experts believe that increased life expectancy improved diagnosis, and a decrease in the number of deaths caused by other conditions, including heart disease, have contributed to establishing dementia as the leading cause of death. People are living for longer and there have also been major advances in the diagnosis of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia was responsible for 15.2 percent of female deaths in 2015; this marks an increase of almost two 2 percent from 2014. Heart disease remained the most common cause of death in males.
Among younger people aged 5-9 years old, suicide was the most common cause of death.
Hilary Evans from Alzheimer’s Research UK stated that the figures support the notion that “no-one survives a diagnosis of dementia”. Figures are increasing and we must take steps to tackle what has become what Ms Evans describes as our greatest medical challenge.
Signs and symptoms of dementia include memory loss and difficulty recalling names, dates and events, losing your string of thought when you’re talking and failing to recognise or remember the names of people you know. Other signs may include confusion, finding it difficult to follow what’s going on in a TV programme or conversation and having problems processing and expressing thoughts.