3. Every fifth person aged over 65 died of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

In 2017, nearly 9,400 Finns died of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, which is almost 200 persons more than in 2016. The number of deaths from dementia has nearly doubled over the past ten years. The growth is also visible in the age-standardised figures (Figure 6), 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, causes of death statistics have adopted an international guideline that limits the use of pneumonia as a underlying cause of death in connection with several chronic diseases. If a person, in addition to pneumonia, is suffering from, for example, dementia, dementia is selected as the underlying cause of death.

Dementia mortality has developed in a similar fashion for both men and women. A majority, or two-thirds, of those who die from this disease group are, however, women. The higher share of deaths from dementia among women than men is caused by women living longer than men. The average age at death of persons that died from dementia was 86 years for men and 89 years for women.

Dementia mortality of Finnish men and women (incl. Alzheimer's disease) was the highest in EU countries relative to the population in 2015. By contrast, pneumonia mortality was the lowest in EU countries in Finland. Pneumonia is a common immediate cause of death but a rarer underlying cause of death in Finland than in other EU countries.

Figure 6. Age-standardised dementia mortality (incl. Alzheimer’s disease) 1971 to 2017

Figure 6. Age-standardised dementia mortality (incl. Alzheimer’s disease) 1971 to 2017

Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Airi Pajunen 029 551 3605, Jari Hellanto 029 551 3291, Kati Taskinen 029 551 3648, kuolemansyyt@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 17.12.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2017, 3. Every fifth person aged over 65 died of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 17.10.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2017/ksyyt_2017_2018-12-17_kat_003_en.html