New figures from this year have shown that dementia, the most common type of Alzheimer’s disease, has overtaken heart disease as the cause for the most deaths in Britain.
It has also been discovered to account for more deaths in women, at 15.2 percent of all deaths, than in men. The change seems to be caused by the ageing British population, with more and more people reaching an age at which dementia becomes more likely to be diagnosed.
People in Britain are living longer than ever with life expectancies reaching 79 years for men and 81 years for women, but it is being suggested that most of the extra years are spent living in poor health.
Currently one in three over 65s in Britain will be diagnosed with the brain disorder.
This news does, however, come with a silver lining; the decline in death by heart disease means that Britain’s heart health is improving.
With 69,000 deaths from heart disease in 2015, this number has now decreased to 66,000. More people are currently prescribed medication to improve cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
The issue with the rising cases of dementia is that there are currently no known ways to medically stop or reverse the degeneration of brain function.
Symptoms of this generally include memory loss, loss of thinking, speed, or agility, and lack of understanding or judgement.
With 850,000 individuals in Britain living with dementia, charities are currently calling upon the government to increase funding to those trying to find a cure.
Hilary Evens, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK has said: “The fact that there are currently no treatments brings into focus the scale of the challenge and the urgency with which we must tackle it.” Current projects suggest that by 2040 over 1.2 m people living in Britain alone will be suffering from the neurological disease.
This gives good reason for the government to act upon the call to double the funding they currently give towards research, £132 million, per year.