Dementia now a leading cause of death

By Anna Dutton

Dementia has now overtaken heart disease as a leading cause of death in the UK. Cancer is still overall the biggest cause of death, but as a result of an ageing population, cases of Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, have increased. The cause of Dementia is still unclear and currently being researched, but these recent results are alarming; no-one who has been diagnosed with the disease has survived.

Dementia killed more than 61,000 people last year- this made up 11.6% of all recorded deaths. Despite Doctors being better equipped to diagnose the early signs of Dementia, the intricacies and complications of the disease are still largely unknown. Current research understands Alzheimer’s to be the most common cause of Dementia and affects different people in varying ways. Bain cells are surrounded by an abnormal protein which disrupts the internal structure of the cell, the chemical connections between each cell are consequently damaged and some cells even die. This causes dementia which can result in memory loss and in severe cases, a person is unable to do everyday tasks.

Symptoms of dementia vary depending on which part of the brain is disrupted. But, the disease has been identified as having these common symptoms: the day-to-day memory of individuals is weakened; planning and concentrating tasks are more difficult; use of language is restricted and orientation is hindered. Suffering from the disease is a difficult experience, and it also has a huge impact on those close to the affected individual.

Linda Trueman from Hertfordshire who is 67 lost her mother, father and grandfather to dementia. She notes how ‘there’s been a big change in knowledge and expertise’ but that ‘it’s still a condition that everyone is frightened of.’ Linda’s remarks highlight how Dementia, despite becoming more of discussed topic, is still often regarded as a taboo subject. Despite a lack of complete knowledge about Dementia, the unmentionable atmosphere surrounding the disease is too common for a modern-day society.

Alzheimer’s is the biggest killer in women but for men it is still heart disease. Despite this difference, Hilary Evans who works for Alzheimer’s Research UK, notes that the ONS statistics show how currently ‘no-one survives a diagnosis of dementia.’ This tragic reality shows that more research needs to be done as Alzheimer’s is not simply ‘an inevitable part of an ageing.’ There are currently 850,000 people in the UK that suffer from Dementia and Martin Kane of the Alzheimer’s Society stated that finding a cure would ‘remain high on the agenda’ to help those who are current sufferers and offer better support for future generations.

Dementia is an extremely difficult disease to live with, and it is often even trickier to support someone who is suffering. Many more people are being diagnosed with the disease every day and it is necessary for research to continue so that a cure is found. Hopefully, in the future, Dementia will be a less frightening disease, and instead of having the highest death rate, it will have the highest survival rate.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *