Dementia leading cause of death in United Kingdom

Dementia is the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

More than 61,000 people died of dementia last year, 11.6 percent of all recorded deaths, according to a statistical bulletin from the Office for National Statistics. Heart disease represents 11.5 percent of all recorded deaths, but has been steadily declining for the past decade. 

“In 2015, dementia and Alzheimer's disease became the leading cause of death in part because people are simply living longer but also because of improved detection and diagnosis,” said Elizabeth McLaren, Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, Office for National Statistics. “An updating of the international rules for determining the underlying cause of death is also a factor, with the increase in cases attributed to these conditions accompanied by falls in other causes.”

Most dementia deaths were reported in women, representing 15.2 percent of all female deaths in 2015, up from 13.4 percent in 2014. Alzheimer's-related deaths have been surpassed heart disease in 2011. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men, representing 14.3 percent of all deaths in 2015. Dementia and Alzheimer's deaths are increasing in men but at a slower rate than seen in women.

Death statistics are compiled from information supplied when deaths are certified and registered as part of civil registration, a legal requirement in the United Kingdom.

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia