A new report, Health Profile for England, published by Public Health England (PHE) has revealed that the death rate* for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may overtake heart disease in men as early as 2020 – it is already the leading cause of death in women.
The Health Profile for England report details health and protection issues such as life expectancy, major causes of death and mortality trends and the data gathered will be used to shape the upcoming NHS long term plan.
Sally Copley, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Partnerships at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We have stressed for a long time that dementia was set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer – it has already become so, and what is the stark reality for women is now also set to be the case for men. What makes this more sobering is that it is the only leading cause of death that we can’t cure, prevent or even slow down, showing the critical need to tackle the dementia crisis.
“As today’s figures show for too long dementia has not received the attention it deserves, and deaths from the disease continue to rise, year on year. Alzheimer’s Society is working hard to invest in and accelerate dementia research, so that one day figures like this might not paint such a bleak picture, but in the meantime the Government must rise to this challenge, and put dementia at the heart of the NHS’s long term plan.
“We also need to wake up to the fact that not only will more people be dying from this devastating condition, but far more will be living with dementia. They will all need quality social care from trained professionals that doesn’t drain their life savings and force them to sell their homes. We’re nowhere near getting that support to everyone who needs it now, and with one million people living with dementia by 2021, this is the UK’s most urgent yet hidden crisis and the government must address it now.”
* The death rate is the number of deaths per 100,000 population. It is adjusted to take account of changes in the age structure of the population over time e.g. population ageing.