3. Deaths from dementia and Alzheimer's disease are increasing

In 2012, every fourth death at the age of 85 or over was caused by dementia or Alzheimer's disease. The number of deaths from this disease group has nearly tripled over the past twenty years. The growth is also visible in the age-standardised figures, where the effects of the population structure are taken into consideration. The growth is in part the result of more specific diagnostics and changes in the definitions of causes of death (WHO guidelines). From 2005, cause of death statistics have adopted an international guideline that limits the use of pneumonia as a primary cause of death in connection with several chronic diseases. If a person is, in addition to pneumonia, suffering from, for example, dementia, dementia is selected as the statistical primary cause of death.

Figure 4. Age-standardised dementia mortality (icl. Alzheimer's disease) 1970 to 2012

Figure 4. Age-standardised dementia mortality (icl. Alzheimer's disease) 1970 to 2012

Because dementia very steeply becomes more common with age, along with the lengthening of life expectancy, more people get dementia and die as a result of it. This concerns particularly women, because women live longer than men, on average. In 2012, a total of 7,056 persons died of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, which was 856 persons more than in 2011. Sixty-nine per cent of the persons that died from this disease group were women. A majority (72%) of the deaths were caused by Alzheimer's disease.


Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Airi Pajunen 09 1734 3605, Kati Taskinen 09 1734 3297, kuolemansyyt@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Updated 30.12.2013

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2012, 3. Deaths from dementia and Alzheimer's disease are increasing . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 20.10.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2012/ksyyt_2012_2013-12-30_kat_003_en.html