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Why Alzheimer’s Disease Causes Death

Additionally The Number Of People Getting Diagnosed With Dementia In England Decreased During Coronavirus And It’s Estimated That Similar Trends Occurred In The Other Uk Nations

Why Does Dementia Cause Death?

This reduced rate of diagnosis also impacts the recording of dementia or the diseases that cause it on death certificates. Although dementia is not the leading cause of death in England and Wales currently, high numbers of people with dementia still sadly passed away last year.

This is in part due to COVID-19 disproportionately impacting people with dementia combined with the high numbers of deaths from dementia-causing diseases, even with decreased diagnosis rates.

Specific Information In This Report

Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

  • Brain changes that occur with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Risk factors for Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Number of Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia nationally and for each state.
  • Lifetime risk for developing Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Proportion of women and men with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
  • Number of deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease nationally and for each state, and death rates by age.
  • Number of family caregivers, hours of care provided, and economic value of unpaid care nationally and for each state.
  • The impact of caregiving on caregivers.
  • National cost of care for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, including costs paid by Medicare and Medicaid and costs paid out of pocket.
  • Medicare payments for people with dementia compared with people without dementia.
  • Number of geriatricians needed by state in 2050.

The Appendices detail sources and methods used to derive statistics in this report.

When possible, specific information about Alzheimer’s disease is provided in other cases, the reference may be a more general one of âAlzheimer’s or other dementias.â

Who Gets Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimers is affecting seniors of all races, and the disease is as prevalent as ever. Here are a few quick facts:

  • Five and a half million people in the United States are living with Alzheimers. There may be 16 million people with the disease by 2050.
  • Ten percent of Americans over 65 have Alzheimers disease. Every senior citizen should be aware of the Alzheimers disease facts.
  • Alzheimers disease strikes African-Americans at twice the rate of whites. It strikes Hispanics at one and a half times the rate of whites.
  • One-third of seniors has Alzheimers disease or another dementia by the time they die.
  • Alzheimers and dementia are not the same things. Dementia is defined as declining mental ability. It must be severe enough to interfere with the persons daily life. Alzheimers is the most common cause of dementia.
  • 45% of Americans over 85 have Alzheimers. 13% of those over 65 have it.
  • Alzheimers affects more women than men. Over two-thirds of those with the disease are women.
  • It can be difficult to detect early. Most people with mild cognitive impairment the earliest form of the disease, dont know they have it.
  • It can strike as early as age 30. Up to 5% of sufferers have the early-onset variety, which can afflict those as early as 30 or 40 years old.

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Can You Die From Alzheimers

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Alzheimers is generally considered a chronic illness that progresses over time. It is also a fatal disease. Each person experiences the course of the disease differently, and the reasons for death vary, but the outcome is the same.1

The Alzheimers Association describes the disease as a progressive brain disorder that causes dementia, leading to the loss of memory, cognition, and the ability to care for oneself. The brain is the bodys control center, and when it can no longer function correctly it can affect all aspects of daily life including the ability to speak, walk, swallow, and breathe.2

Alzheimers Disease And Other Dementias Are The Leading Cause Of Death In The Uk

US deaths from Alzheimer

Mortality rates for Alzheimers disease and other dementias have increased over the last decade. In contrast, the other top four leading causes of death in 2017 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: 07/07/2021

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

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How Are Patients With Alzheimers Disease Who Are Losing Weight Evaluated

The doctor will gather the patients medical history and conduct a physical exam to look for the medical issues that often underlie the cause of the weight loss and need treatment. Many doctors review a patients medications as the first step since they are often the cause of loss of appetite and weight. All current prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements should be reviewed.

A speech pathologist may be consulted to determine if the patient has any swallowing problems.

When Forgetfulness Turns Fatal

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease, which is not reversible,” says Muralidhar Reddy Moola, PhD, of the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla. “As the disease progresses, an individual loses his memory as well as mental and physical function it is this function loss that leads ultimately to death. Once the disease starts, we are able to slow the progression with currently available medications but we can’t stop it or reverse it.”

Though the disease process itself is not considered deadly, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and, ultimately, the consequences of the disease are what make it lethal. Alzheimers disease does not cause imminent death, in the sense that most patients live for more than five years and some for 10 to 15 years from diagnosis if they are otherwise healthy,” says Gil Rabinovici, MD, of the University of California in San Francisco. “In the end stages, however, Alzheimers impacts balance, walking, and swallowing. The cause of death is usually related to complications of immobility such as falls, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, pressure sores, or aspiration.

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How Alzheimer’s Causes Death

In late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, people become extremely confused and disoriented. The behavior of someone with late stage Alzheimer’s may become more agitated and restless, while other persons experience withdrawal and apathy. Sometimes, people with later stage dementia cry and call out. Eventually, they lose the ability to communicate, and they may not respond at all.

Additionally, people in the late stages are unable to care for themselves, becoming bedbound and completely dependent on others for their activities of daily living. Their ability to be continent of bowel and bladder declines.

Their appetite decreases as well, and eventually, they lose the ability to swallow, leading to poor nutrition and a high risk of aspiration. Aspiration, where a person’s food goes “down the wrong tube” when they swallow it, greatly increases the risk of pneumonia developing because they’re not able to fully cough and clear the food out of their esophagus and then it settles into their lungs.

Under these difficult conditions, it’s not hard to imagine how vulnerable people with late-stage dementia become, sometimes succumbing to infections, pressure sores, and pneumonia. One study found that half of all people with dementia admitted to a hospital for pneumonia or a hip fracture died within six months of leaving the hospital.

Other factors that impact the death rate in Alzheimer’s disease include advanced age, increased falls, and delirium.

Leading Causes Of Death By Income Group

Alzheimer’s disease nation’s top 10 causes of death

The World Bank classifies the world’s economies into four income groups based on gross national income low, lower-middle, upper-middle and high.

People living in a low-income country are far more likely to die of a communicable disease than a noncommunicable disease. Despite the global decline, six of the top 10 causes of death in low-income countries are communicable diseases.

Malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS all remain in the top 10. However, all three are falling significantly. The biggest decrease among the top 10 deaths in this group has been for HIV/AIDS, with 59% fewer deaths in 2019 than in 2000, or 161 000 and 395 000 respectively.

Diarrhoeal diseases are more significant as a cause of death in low-income countries: they rank in the top 5 causes of death for this income category. Nonetheless, diarrhoeal diseases are decreasing in low-income countries, representing the second biggest decrease in fatalities among the top 10 .

Deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are particularly infrequent in low-income countries compared to other income groups. It does not appear in the top 10 for low-income countries yet ranks in the top 5 for all other income groups.

There is only one communicable disease in the top 10 causes of death for upper-middle-income countries. Notably, there has been a 31% fall in deaths from suicide since 2000 in this income category, decreasing to 234 000 deaths in 2019.

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Alzheimer’s Disease Or Dementia

Many people wonder what the difference is between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Dementia is an overall term for a particular group of symptoms. The characteristic symptoms of dementia are difficulties with memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking skills that affect a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Dementia has many causes . Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

Active Management Of Alzheimer’s Dementia

  • Appropriate use of available treatment options.
  • Effective management of coexisting conditions.
  • Providing family caregivers with effective training in managing the day-to-day life of the care recipient.
  • Coordination of care among physicians, other health care professionals and lay caregivers.
  • Participation in activities that are meaningful to the individual with dementia and bring purpose to his or her life.
  • Having opportunities to connect with others living with dementia support groups and supportive services are examples of such opportunities.
  • Becoming educated about the disease.
  • Planning for the future.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, as well as practical information for living with Alzheimer’s and being a caregiver, visit

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Overview Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of brain disease, just as coronary artery disease is a type of heart disease. It is also a degenerative disease, meaning that it becomes worse with time. Alzheimer’s disease is thought to begin 20 years or more before symptoms arise,- with changes in the brain that are unnoticeable to the person affected. Only after years of brain changes do individuals experience noticeable symptoms such as memory loss and language problems. Symptoms occur because nerve cells in parts of the brain involved in thinking, learning and memory have been damaged or destroyed. As the disease progresses, neurons in other parts of the brain are damaged or destroyed. Eventually, nerve cells in parts of the brain that enable a person to carry out basic bodily functions, such as walking and swallowing, are affected. Individuals become bed-bound and require around-the-clock care. Alzheimer’s disease is ultimately fatal.

Leading Causes Of Death Globally


At a global level, 7 of the 10 leading causes of deaths in 2019 were noncommunicable diseases. These seven causes accounted for 44% of all deaths or 80% of the top 10. However, all noncommunicable diseases together accounted for 74% of deaths globally in 2019.

The worlds biggest killer is ischaemic heart disease, responsible for 16% of the worlds total deaths. Since 2000, the largest increase in deaths has been for this disease, rising by more than 2 million to 8.9 million deaths in 2019. Stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are the 2nd and 3rd leading causes of death, responsible for approximately 11% and 6% of total deaths respectively.

Lower respiratory infections remained the worlds most deadly communicable disease, ranked as the 4th leading cause of death. However, the number of deaths has gone down substantially: in 2019 it claimed 2.6 million lives, 460 000 fewer than in 2000.

Neonatal conditions are ranked 5th. However, deaths from neonatal conditions are one of the categories for which the global decrease in deaths in absolute numbers over the past two decades has been the greatest: these conditions killed 2 million newborns and young children in 2019, 1.2 million fewer than in 2000.

Deaths from noncommunicable diseases are on the rise. Trachea, bronchus and lung cancers deaths have risen from 1.2 million to 1.8 million and are now ranked 6th among leading causes of death.

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Who Dies From Alzheimers Disease

Death from Alzheimers disease is a slow, heartbreaking journey. Understanding these Alzheimers facts may help you know what to expect. Share this information with friends and family of those who have the disease.

Alzheimers disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is the fifth leading cause among those 65 and older and is one of the leading causes of poor health.

Alzheimers disease cannot be cured, prevented, or slowed. It is the only one of the top 10 causes of death that cannot. Research is ongoing, but has not yet had a breakthrough.

People who have Alzheimers at 70 are twice as likely to die by age 80, compared to people who dont have the disease.

Trends In Dementia Caregiving

There is some indication that families are now better at managing the care they provide to relatives with dementia than in the past. From 1999 to 2015, dementia caregivers were significantly less likely to report physical difficulties and financial difficulties related to care provision. In addition, use of respite care by dementia caregivers increased substantially . However, as noted earlier, more work is needed to ensure that interventions for dementia caregivers are available and accessible to those who need them. A 2016 study of the Older Americans Act’s National Family Caregiver Support Program found that over half of Area Agencies on Aging did not offer evidence-based family caregiver interventions.


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Figure : People Aged 95 Years And Over Had Statistically Significantly Higher Rates Than All Other Age Groups For Deaths Due To Dementia And Alzheimers Disease

Age-standardised and age-specific mortality rates for deaths due to dementia and Alzheimerâs disease, England and Wales, 2019


The age group with the highest age-standardised mortality rate in England and Wales was those aged 95 years and over, with a rate of 7,306.4 per 100,000 people . The ASMR increased significantly throughout the five-year age groups for those over 65 years. The age group with the highest number of deaths was those aged 85 to 89 years with 18,981 deaths.

It is important to note that 84.6% of all deaths registered in 2019 were from those aged 65 years and over, therefore the increase in mortality rates is to be expected in the older age groups. For deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the ASMR for those aged 65 years and under in 2019 was 0.6 .

The following analysis will focus on England and Wales separately, allowing any difference in trends between the two countries to be identified.

In 2019, the ASMR for deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, for all ages, was significantly higher in England than in Wales . However, this difference was not prevalent among all age groups.

The greatest proportion of deaths in England due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease occurred in care homes this was 65.4% of all deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is a much greater proportion of deaths than when considering all causes of death and any other leading cause of death in 2019.

Alzheimers And Dementia Leading Cause Of Death In England And Wales

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Experts call for urgent action to tackle biggest health crisis of our time

Dementia is the biggest health crisis of our time, experts have said, as statistics show the condition was the primary cause of death in England and Wales last year.

Almost one in eight people died from dementia and Alzheimers disease in 2018, with the proportion increasing for the fourth consecutive year up from 12.7% in 2017 to 12.8% in 2018. There were 541,589 deaths registered in England and Wales last year, the highest total since 1999.

With the numbers of people living with dementia in the UK expected to rise to 1 million by 2021, campaigners are urging the government to fulfil its pledges on adult social care, including publishing its long-awaited green paper.

In his first speech as prime minister, Boris Johnson vowed to solve the UKs social care crisis once and for all, asserting that he would protect the elderly from the fear of having to sell their home to pay for the cost of care.

Sally Copley, the director of policy and campaigns at Alzheimers Society, said: For four years now, weve seen deaths caused by dementia increase. We need to take action now to tackle the biggest health crisis of our time. One person develops dementia in the UK every three minutes and there are still far too many facing a future alone, without adequate support.

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S For Fighting Alzheimers

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimers disease, and available Alzheimers treatments can only slow its progression, drugs, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle modifications may help with both cognitive and behavioral symptoms such as memory loss, dementia, changes in behavior, and sleep disturbances.

Equally important are maintaining cognitive activity, staying social, and engaging in regular physical exercise, Dr. Rabinovici stresses. All of these have benefits for the brain, and exercise in particular may delay physical symptoms and immobility.

Continuing activities that you find meaningful and enjoyable is also important, adds Myron Weiner, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “Many times, however, people will need the support and participation of friends and family to keep them involved.

That need for assistance, especially as a person’s condition worsens, can make fighting the symptoms of Alzheimer’s difficult. Even early in the disease, patients require some assistance in managing their affairs, and as the disease progresses, they require increasing help with basic self-care,” Rabinovici says. “The disease has a tremendous impact on quality of life for patients and families, and dramatic economic consequences for society.


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