Dementia Takes Over as Leading Cause of Death in the U.K.

By | November 9th, 2017

November 9, 2017

For the first time, dementia has pulled ahead of heart disease as the leading killer across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Over 70,000 died from dementia in the last year — about one in every eight deaths have been attributed to dementia. Comparatively, around 66,000 people across the U.K. died from heart disease.

The numbers are based on data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and the Office for National Statistics.

Experts say the increase in dementia deaths is led by the aging population, along with improvements in heart heath treatments as more people are prescribed statins and screened for high cholesterol levels.

“These startling figures emphasize the health crisis we face in the U.K. at the hands of dementia. Year-on-year, we are seeing more people conquer and survive serious health conditions like heart disease, but deaths from dementia continue to rise,” said Hillary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research U.K.

Right now, around 850,000 people in the U.K. are living with dementia. By the year 2040, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the U.K. is expected to rise to 1.2 million.

Worldwide, it’s estimated that 35.6 people are living with dementia. That number is expected to triple by the year 2050.

 “The fact that there are currently no treatments to slow or stop the diseases behind dementia brings into sharp focus the scale of the challenge and the urgency with which we must tackle it,” said Evans.
In both the U.S. and the U.K., researchers set a goal for a drug that could treat Alzheimer’s by 2025. But a series of failures, some announced as recently as last week at the Clinical Trials Alzheimer’s Disease meeting in Boston, may make that goal difficult to reach.
Still, scientists are collecting new research all the time. On Monday, Stanford researchers announced that ‘young’ blood may help treat some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Those closest to the disease remain hopeful.

“Dementia may be the biggest killer in the UK today, but research has the power to stop this from being the case in the future,” said Evans.

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