Dementia Leading Cause of Death in 2022

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today revealed ‘dementia and Alzheimer’s disease’ were the leading cause of death in 2022. Collectively they accounted for 65,967 deaths (11.4% of the total), up from 61,250 (10.4%) in 2021.

The latest figures also revealed that:

• Coronary heart disease, itself a risk factor for dementia, was the second leading cause of death in both England and Wales.
• Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was the leading cause of death among females (42,635 deaths, 15.0% of all female deaths registered), consistent with what we have previously reported.
• For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Covid-19 has dropped out of the top five leading causes of death in England and Wales.

Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, highlighted that in its recent survey a staggering 20% of the public failed to recognise the terminal nature of dementia, despite being the leading cause of death for women in the UK for over a decade.

Commenting on the new data, Samantha Benham-Hermetz, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“These statistics are a stark reminder of the terrible and far-reaching effects of dementia on our society. Our most recent survey showed that 2 in 10 people are unaware that dementia is even a cause of death, yet last year it claimed nearly 66,000 lives in England and Wales alone. And despite its devastating impact, and in contrast with other leading causes of death like heart disease or cancer, there are still no treatments available on the NHS that can slow or stop it.

“As the impact of the pandemic recedes, we must learn from the lessons of Covid-19 and speed up progress in finding new ways to treat, diagnose and prevent dementia. At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we will keep working tirelessly to achieve this, and to make sure it stays at the top of the national agenda.”