Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on government to increase funding into dementia research as data out today shows that deaths due to dementia continue to rise across the UK. In 2017, Dementia accounted for 76,090 deaths across the UK – or 12.5% of all deaths – and remained the leading cause of death. For women, this figure is even more stark with almost twice as many deaths caused by dementia as the next leading cause of death, ischaemic heart disease.
Data released today by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency show that the number of deaths due to dementia in Northern Ireland in 2017 was 1,900, an increase from 2016, accounting for almost 12% of all deaths.
This follows information from the Office of National Statistics that shows dementia accounted for one in eight deaths – or 12.7% of deaths – in England and Wales in 2017. This was an increase from 12% in 2016. Deaths due to dementia also rose in Scotland by 17.3% from the previous year and accounted for 11.3% of all deaths in 2017. While some of these figures can be attributed to increases in dementia diagnoses and changes in methodology for recording causes of death, they show a concerning trend in deaths from the condition that continues to rise.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Dementia is a condition that no one has yet survived, and today’s figures highlight the urgent need to address this growing health crisis. With more than 1 million people expected to be living with the condition in just three years, we cannot afford to wait to invest in research to bring about breakthrough treatments.
“While the Challenge on Dementia has seen funding increase as government works to meet its commitment to invest £300m over five years, the government’s current annual investment is still just one third of what is needed. We must see government commit to spending the equivalent of 1% of the annual cost of dementia – estimated to be £260 million this year – on research on a yearly basis.
“We are asking the public to help enable a Parliamentary debate about the urgent need for increased investment in dementia research by signing our petition at alzres.uk/petition.”