New figures released by the Office for National Statistics have shown that Alzheimer's disease and other dementias were the leading cause of death for women in England and Wales in 2014, and the second leading cause of death for men.
According to the figures, diseases that cause dementia accounted for 13.4% of all female deaths and 7% of all male deaths. A total of 51,498 deaths were caused by the condition, with 34,321 of these recorded among women.
The figures show that deaths from Alzheimer's and other dementias have increased by 5% for men and by 8.7% for women in the past 10 years, in part as a result of changes in the way deaths from the condition are recorded. In contrast, deaths from ischaemic heart disease – the leading cause of death for men – fell by 6.2% for men and 5.9% for women over the same period.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer's Research UK, the UK's leading dementia research charity, said:
"These latest figures underline a stark reality: with no treatments yet able to affect the course of Alzheimer's and other dementias, no-one currently survives a diagnosis of dementia. Diseases like Alzheimer's are causing untold heartache for families across the UK, and these statistics should give us cause to redouble our efforts in the fight against them. Advances in medicine have helped reduce the impact of conditions like heart disease; now we must see the same to happen for dementia. Investment in research is vital if we are to find ways of treating and preventing dementia, and ultimately reduce the number of people dying from this devastating condition."
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