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Experts expect a massive increase in deaths from dementia
Dementia is a common disease in today's society. Researchers have now found that the number of people dying from dementia could almost quadruple in the next twenty years.
Researchers at the recognized King’s College London found that the number of people dying from dementia will increase massively in the future. Over the next twenty years, the number of people dying from dementia could almost quadruple. The doctors published the results of their study in the medical journal "British Medical Journal" (BMJ).
Palliative care for people with dementia needs to be strengthened
For their study, the experts analyzed the mortality statistics for England and Wales from 2006 to 2014. Using explicit assumptions about changes in disease prevention over time and official predictions about mortality, the scientists were able to estimate the need for palliative care in the future.
In 2040, almost 630,000 people could die of dementia in England and Wales alone
By 2040, annual dementia-related deaths in England and Wales will increase dramatically. This could lead to the fact that instead of 501,424 deaths as in 2014 in 2040, around 628,659 people could die from the consequences of dementia, the authors explain.
Palliative care needs could increase by about 25 percent per year in the future
If the age and gender percentages with palliative care needs remain the same as in 2014, the number of people with palliative care needs could increase by about 25 percent per year in the future, the researchers say.
Cancer and dementia are the main reasons for the growing need for palliative care
If the upward trend found between 2006 and 2014 continues, this could lead to a 47 percent increase in people in England and Wales in need of palliative care by 2040, the authors say. Dementia (an increase from 59,199 to 219,409 deaths) and cancer (an increase from 143,638 to 208,636 deaths) will be the main reasons for the growing need by 2040.
Required growth in palliative care will increase massively in the next 25 years
"Our analysis also showed that palliative care will grow far more than expected in the next 25 years," the experts explain. The rise in the number of deaths from chronic illnesses, which are likely to require treatment by palliative care, leads to a greatly increased need as demographic changes grow.
Many other countries will develop similar problems
Many high-income countries will go through similar population and disease changes. Therefore, these countries can definitely expect a comparable increase in the need for palliative care, the authors explain.
Medical professionals must be prepared for the growth of dementia and cancer
The current palliative care models urgently need to adapt to these future changes. In particular, we have to prepare for the growth of dementia and cancer, the researchers say. This is the only way we can ensure that people who die in the future are cared for with appropriate care, explain the doctors.
Very few people with dementia receive palliative care
Dementia is the greatest killer of the 21st century, the researchers say. The disease is the leading incurable cause of death, which has so far neither been prevented nor stopped. Currently, however, there is little palliative care for people with dementia. Only about eight percent of people with dementia die at home, less than one percent of people with dementia die in a hospice, say the doctors.
Results should be a wake-up call for society
The predicted quadrupling of dementia deaths should be a wake-up call for our society to provide more services for dementia-appropriate palliative care, the experts conclude. (as)