A recent report by the Public Health England revealed that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are now the leading causes of death among women in the United Kingdom. According to the report, the country’s overall life expectancy for women has shown a significant increase in years, which is now 83.1 years. However, these added years are characterized by poor health. As per the report, women are expected to live about a quarter of their lives being ill.
The report also noted that while other diseases exhibited a relative decline, the rates of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have doubled since 2001. In fact, the cognitive diseases were accounted for 15.3 percent of deaths among British women.
“Good public health is not defined by health policy alone. Our health profiles show a high-quality education, a well-designed and warm home, a good job, and a community to belong to are just as important. The more we consider the impact of all policies on population health, the sooner we can focus on preventing poor health instead of only dealing with its consequences, especially for those from the most deprived communities,” Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, was quoted as saying on The Daily Express website.
“To achieve the same successes as we have with other health conditions like heart disease and cancer, we need dementia research to remain a national priority. We have been able to make promising steps forward, thanks to a renewed focus, but we are not there yet,” said Dr. Matthew Norton, director of policy at Alzheimer’s Research U.K.
The latest figure was consistent with an Office for National Statistics report released late last year. According to the report, more women died from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in 2015 compared with men. Report data showed that the cognitive conditions accounted for 41,283 dementia deaths in women in 2015, which equates to 15.2 percent of all female deaths in that year. This was significantly higher than the 13.4 percent recorded in 2014.
“These figures once again call attention to the uncomfortable reality that currently, no one survives a diagnosis of dementia. Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing, it’s caused by diseases that can be fought through research, and we must bring all our efforts to bear on what is now our greatest medical challenge,” Alzheimer’s Research U.K. official Hilary Evans told BBC.com.
Are vaccines to blame for the increasing rates of dementia?
Exposure to heavy metals — such as mercury and aluminum — by way of vaccines and medicines have long been associated with an increased risk of developing dementia and other neurological conditions. In fact, an analysis published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease revealed that long-term mercury exposure was linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms including confusion, impaired memory, and cognitive function decline. Mercury was mostly used as a preservative in many childhood vaccines until 2001.
On the other hand, a study published in 2009 revealed that aluminum, another heavy metal commonly added to flu shots, may raise the odds of developing dementia and other neurological conditions. According to the study, people who had the highest aluminum content in their drinking water had the highest risk of suffering from the condition. A vast number of clinical studies have also shown that the heavy metal was directly tied to the onset of brain damage. (Related: Aluminum in vaccines linked to Alzheimer’s and other neurological conditions.)