Dementia death rates rising

Paul Hayes

24/10/2017 12:00:00 AM

Dementia is now the leading cause of death among women in Australia, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This is a significant development given ischemic heart disease has previously been the leading cause of death for both sexes in Australia since the early part of last century. 

Dementia death rates are on the rise in Australia
Dementia death rates are on the rise in Australia

According to the ABS’ Australia's leading causes of death, 2016, 8447 Australian women died as a result of dementia in 2016, an average of 36 deaths a day. Overall, one of every 12 deaths in Australia last year (13,126 in total) had dementia as the underlying cause of death.
These increasing numbers are in contrast to other leading causes of death – heart disease, lung cancer and stroke – the mortality rates for which have all reduced since 2007.
Dementia was the third-leading cause of death among Australian men in 2016, with 4679 deaths recorded.
GPs have a key role in diagnosing and treating people with dementia, the majority of whom are aged older than 65 years. The RACGP’s Medical care of older persons in residential aged care facilities (Silver Book) has a number of recommendations for assessment, cognitive testing, differentiation of dementia from delirium and depression, management, management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, and medication management.
Further resources for GPs:

ABS aged-care Australian-Bureau-of-Statistics dementia

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