dementia
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In 2015, the brain disorder overtook heart disease and stroke as Britain's biggest cause of death
Dementia deaths have declined by the largest number in 20 years, Government figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its first ever figures linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease deaths, which also include comorbidities, for England and Wales

Researchers found that in 2019 there were 530,841 deaths registered. Of these, there were 66,424 deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer's disease (12.5 per cent) compared with 69,478 deaths in 2018.

The ONS also found that there was a "significant decrease" in the age-standardised mortality rate in 2019 in comparison to 2018 (a decline from 123.8 per 100,000 people in 2018, to 115.1 per 100,000 people in 2019).

Responding to the data, Gavin Terry, head of policy at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "This is an unusual result that we weren't expecting to see, while of course it's good news that fewer people died from dementia last year.

"But it doesn't reflect the overall pattern we've seen up until now - with deaths from dementia rising year-on-year, in line with estimated prevalence numbers, due to our increasing ageing population, combined with improved awareness of dementia across society and better diagnosis of the condition."

Mr Terry added "While this may be a short-term blip, there is evidence in any case to suggest that people with dementia are living longer, supporting our calls for dementia care to be prioritised across society."

Generally the number of deaths from dementia and Alzheimer's disease have been increasing year-on-year in recent years.

There are four leading causes of death in the UK: Dementia (including Alzheimer's disease), heart disease, lung cancer and stroke. In 2015, dementia overtook heart disease and stroke as the UK's biggest cause of death.

Charities warn that an ever-increasing ageing population, with people living longer, means that there are likely to be further numbers of people who die from dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The ONS also found in 2017 the age-standardised mortality rate was 122.2 per 100,000 people and in 2016 it was 115.7 per 100,000 people.

However, the decline between 2018 and 2019 is the largest between consecutive years since records began in 2001, when the rate was 64.2 per 100,000 people.

Researchers also found the highest number of deaths registered in 2019 due to dementia and Alzheimer's disease was among people aged between 85 and 89 years, in both England and Wales (18,981 deaths).

Zena Aldridge, Admiral Nurse research fellow at Dementia UK: said "These statistics suggest a drop in deaths related to dementia in the UK.

"However we need to contextualise the factors which may have influenced this data, such as coding, dementia diagnosis rates and other conditions that people with dementia are likely to experience.

"It is important not to detract from the more critical situation, which is the predicted increasing prevalence of dementia, as well as the fact that it is life-limiting.

"The fact remains that even if it is not the cause of someone's death, the person will still die with dementia.

"Subsequently, there is an increasing need for support for people with dementia and their families following diagnosis and until the end of their lives, whatever the cause may be."