One in nine people who die in the Netherlands suffer from dementia at the time of death. For women over 90 years of age this is even a quarter.
One quarter of demented people die of heart disease
In 2001 16.1 thousand people died while suffering from a form of dementia. This is just over 11 percent of all deaths.
In just over one in three cases, the dementia itself was the cause of death. One quarter of dementia patients who died, died of heart and vascular disease. Disease of the respiratory organs, including pneumonia, was the main cause of death for 16 percent of people who died suffering from dementia
Deaths of dementia patients by primary cause of death, 2001
More women than men suffer from dementia
The number of deaths of patients with dementia increases strongly with age. For women who die aged 70–79 years, just over ten percent suffer from a form of dementia. For women aged 90 years or older this proportion reaches 25 percent.
Dementia is more common among women than among men. Six percent of men aged between 70 and 80 years are demented when they die, rising to over 16 percent for men dying in their nineties.
Proportion of dementia patients in overall deaths, by age, 2001
Dementia set to increase
The number of people with dementia will rise in the future, mainly because of the ageing of the population. However, the proportion of people suffering from dementia is also increasing within each age group. In 1996 21 percent of people aged over 90 who died suffered from dementia, in 2001 this was 23 percent.
Anouschka van der Meulen and Ingeborg Keij-Deerenberg