Alzheimer's Society responds to ONS statistic showing that dementia and Alzheimer's disease are the leading cause of death for the first time

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that dementia and Alzheimer's disease are now the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

This replaces ischaemic heart disease as the leading cause of death and is related to an ageing population as well as better dementia diagnosis rates.

In 2015, 61,686 people died of Dementia or Alzheimer's, amounting to 11.6% of all deaths, while the age-standardised mortality rate for Dementia and Alzheimer's has more than doubled over the last 5 years for both males and females. The majority of these deaths were among females while ischaemic heart disease remains the leading cause of death amongst men, however the age-standardised mortality rate continues to fall.

Martina Kane, Senior Policy Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'Today’s news that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the leading cause of death in England and Wales is a stark reminder that dementia remains a growing concern across the country. While the news represents improvements in diagnosis rates, general awareness and the accuracy of reporting, it also reflects that there are rising numbers of people with dementia. While there remains no cure for the condition, everyone who develops it will sadly still have the disease when they die. It is therefore essential that people have access to the right support and services to help them live well with dementia and that research into better care, treatments and eventually a cure remain high on the agenda.'

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