Number of Scots dying from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia soars

Number of Scots dying from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia soars in a year.

  • Records show 6,277 deaths from the conditions were registered last year – with women accounting for two thirds of the deaths 

The number of Scots dying from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia has risen over the last year.

A total of 6,277 deaths were registered in 2022, an increase of 231 from the previous year, according to figures published yesterday by National Records of Scotland.

Dementia is now one of the leading causes of death in Scotland due to the ageing population.

Over 80 per cent of deaths occurred amongst people aged over 80. Women accounted for two thirds of the deaths.

The mortality rate at 121 deaths per 100,000 people in 2022 makes Alzheimer’s and dementia one of the highest causes of death in Scotland, more than double that in the year 2000 at 56 deaths per 100,000.

6,277 Alzheimer's disease and dementia deaths were registered in 2022, an increase of 231 from the previous year

As well as deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, which is a common type of dementia, it includes vascular dementia and unspecified dementia.

Dementia is a general term for ongoing decline of brain functioning and can result in death.

Recent research by Alzheimer’s Research UK estimated just 29 per cent of Scots with dementia actually had a diagnosis, one of the lowest rates in the UK.

Dr Susan Mitchell, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, called for improvements to the diagnosis of the disease, which can be done through GPs who can refer people with symptoms to memory clinics or specialists.

She said: ‘’This new report reminds us of the sombre reality we live in, with 6,277 people in Scotland losing their lives to this devastating condition in 2022.

‘But the true number is likely to be even higher, as it’s currently estimated that a significantly lower proportion of people with dementia in Scotland ever receive a diagnosis compared to the rest of the UK.

‘This inexcusably leaves so many without a diagnosis and pathway to care, which is heartbreaking for those affected and their loved ones.

‘Sadly, just as is the case across the rest of the UK, these statistics also highlight the impact that health inequalities have on dementia. Those living in disadvantaged areas of Scotland appear to have a 30 per cent higher chance of having dementia as a cause of death compared to those in the most affluent regions.

‘This is simply not good enough. To move the dial, governments must double down on their commitment to ensure breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatment reach people who really need them.

‘We also want all political parties to also commit to sustained, bold, and ambitious action at the next election. This will be the only way to change the outlook of dementia in Scotland and across the rest of the UK and make strides towards finding a cure.’

Daniel Burns, Head of Vital Events Statistics at NRS, said: ‘Deaths from dementias are one of the highest causes of death in Scotland. The mortality rate for 2022 is twice what it was in 2000.

‘The increase may partly be driven by increasingly life expectancy, particularly among females, and the high number of children born in the post war years reaching the age at which Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the leading cause of death.

‘Those living in the most deprived areas of Scotland are 1.3 times as likely to die of dementia when compared to those living in the least deprived areas. This compares with 1.8 times as likely for deaths from all causes.’


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