Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is now the second leading cause of death in Australians (rising from third place in previous years), with 11,000 deaths recorded in 2013, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in its 2013 report on causes of death in Australia.
The report stated that the number of deaths as a result of dementia increased by more than five per cent in the previous year and more than 30 per cent in the past five years.
Alzheimer’s Australia National President, Graeme Samuel said: “The report is evidence that dementia is a major health challenge facing Australia, and one we can’t afford to neglect.
“The figures reinforce the importance of risk reduction as a key strategy to combat this chronic disease, which is something that Dementia Australia’s brain health program, Your Brain Matters has been working hard to achieve.
“Alzheimer’s Australia, in its recent budget submission, called for the Federal Government to continue to invest in Your Brain Matters, and these latest figures indicate that investment in dementia risk reduction is crucial.
“Simple lifestyle factors including regular exercise, following a healthy diet, remaining mentally and socially active all play an important part in a person’s brain health.”
There are currently more than 340,000 Australians living with dementia. Each week there are 1,800 new cases of dementia in Australia and this is expected to increase to 7,400 new cases each week by 2050. Alzheimer’s Australia CEO, Carol Bennett said: “Australia’s ageing population is certainly a contributing factor to the rise in the number of deaths by dementia given that age is the biggest risk factor.
“However, there are more than 25,100 Australians living with younger onset dementia. This is why more research on dementia is critical so that we are able to determine why and how it affects the brain in the way that it does.”
For further information about brain health and dementia risk reduction, visit www.yourbrainmatters.org.au
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