Dementia on the rise as a leading cause of death of all Australians

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The number of deaths in Australia from dementia has increased by 68 per cent over the past decade while other leading causes of death, ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke and other circulatory conditions, have decreased over the same period. 

Deaths from dementia have increased from 33.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 2008, to 41.6 in 2017, according to the Causes of Death 2017 Report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Maree McCabe, CEO Dementia Australia, said the updated data reinforces the need for major investment in dementia research, services and support, as well as the importance of continuing to educate the community and raise awareness about dementia. 

“If this trend continues dementia, sadly, will become the leading cause of death of all Australians in just a few years,” said Ms McCabe. 

“Dementia must be a health and ageing policy priority for all state and federal governments, health services and the aged care sector.”

Dementia is Australia’s second leading cause of death overall but the leading cause of death of women.

“With more than 436,000 Australians living with dementia and an estimated 1.45 million people involved in the care of someone with dementia, it is clearly one of the biggest public health challenges facing Australia,” added Ms McCabe.