In 2017, more than 87,000 deaths were linked to dementia, accounting for 26 percent of the total for over-75s, according to data from Public Health England. Ten years previously, 40,000 deaths from dementia made up 13 per cent of the total. Meanwhile, cancer accounted for 22 per cent of deaths among older people in 2017 (74,000), a rise of less than one percent since 2007. Helen Davies, head of public affairs at charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We know that dementia is not only the leading cause of death in the UK, but is the health crisis of our time.” There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK – a figure set to soar to more than one million by 2021 as the population ages.
Ms Davies said: “Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on the Government to put just one per cent of the cost of dementia towards research to improve the lives of people with dementia.”
Sally Copley, director of policy and campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “In 10 years deaths from dementia have doubled, but in the same period we’ve seen nowhere near the increase in investment in dementia research to combat this devastating condition.
“Cancer researchers outnumber dementia researchers four to one, despite dementia being the biggest health crisis of our time.”
Other top causes of death include heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke.