Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are now the leading cause of death in the UK.

Mortality rates for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have increased over the last decade. In contrast, the other top four leading causes of death in 2015 – ischaemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, chronic lower respiratory diseases and lung cancer – have all seen falling mortality rates in the last 15 years.

Page last reviewed: 05/07/2018

Source: England and Wales; Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales (Series DR). Scotland: National Records of Scotland Vital Events Reference Tables. Northern Ireland; Northern Ireland Statistic & Research Agency Registrar General Annual Report 2016

Source:  England and Wales; Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales (Series DR). Scotland: National Records of Scotland Vital Events Reference Tables. Northern Ireland; Northern Ireland Statistic & Research Agency Registrar General Annual Report 2016

Dementia is the leading cause of death in the UK. The graph below shows the increase in the proportion of deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia over the last several years, compared to several other leading causes of death.

Source: England and Wales; Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales (Series DR) Scotland: National Records of Scotland Vital Events Reference Tables. Northern Ireland; Northern Ireland Statistic & Research Agency Registrar General Annual Report 2016

Source: Etkind, S.N. et al (2017) How many people will need palliative care in 2040? Past trends, future projections and implications for services BMC Medicine 2017 15:102

Source: Etkind, S.N. et al (2017) How many people will need palliative care in 2040? Past trends, future projections and implications for services BMC Medicine 2017 15:102

Between 2010 and 2011 there is a noticeable increase in the numbers of deaths recorded, this was driven by changes to recording of deaths designed to more accurately report deaths where the underlying cause is dementia.

Source: England and Wales; Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales (Series DR) Scotland: National Records of Scotland Vital Events Reference Tables. Northern Ireland; Northern Ireland Statistic & Research Agency Registrar General Annual Report 2016

Source: England and Wales; Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales (Series DR) Scotland: National Records of Scotland Vital Events Reference Tables. Northern Ireland; Northern Ireland Statistic & Research Agency Registrar General Annual Report 2016

Source: Projections of mortality and causes of death, 2015 and 2030; World Health Organization

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the global number of deaths due to dementia will increase by over 40% from 2015 to 2030.

Source: Projections of mortality and causes of death, 2015 and 2030; World Health Organization

Source: Projections of mortality and causes of death, 2015 and 2030; World Health Organization