Published: 17 December 2010

Deaths from dementia more than doubled in two decades

A total of 49,904 persons, 25,152 men and 24,752 women, died in 2009. As the population ages dementia is becoming an increasingly widespread cause of death alongside ischaemic heart diseases. In 2009, almost one in two persons who died over the age of 80, died either of ischaemic heart diseases or memory disorders. The number of deaths caused by dementia has more than doubled in two decades.

Deaths by specific causes of death in 1989–2009

  Males Females
  1989 1999 2008 2009 1989 1999 2008 2009
TOTAL DEATHS 24 530 24 441 24 451 25 152 24 602 24 927 24 639 24 752
Neoplasms 5 106 5 428 5 782 5 953 4 891 5 017 5 432 5 357
Dementia, Alzheimer's disease 618 925 1 521 1 661 1 489 2 470 3 443 3 828
Ischaemic heart diseases 7 537 6 625 5 913 6 024 6 531 6 356 5 848 5 510
Cerebrovascular diseases 1 955 1 977 1 707 1 756 3 483 3 014 2 539 2 624
Alcohol related diseases and accid. poisoning by alcohol 830 1 159 1 674 1 651 172 269 462 414
Suicides 1 119 954 801 761 295 253 232 273

Ischaemic heart diseases caused 22 per cent of all deaths. Two decades ago, the number of deaths from ischaemic heart diseases was about one-fifth higher.

Neoplasms caused almost equally many deaths as ischaemic heart diseases in 2009. Over the past few decades, the number of deaths from Neoplasms has remained quite stable. Lung cancer was the commonest type of cancer among men which led to death and breast cancer among women. Men's deaths from lung cancer have decreased in the past twenty years. Substantially fewer women than men die of lung cancer, but the number has nearly doubled in the past two decades. The number of deaths from breast cancer has risen slightly in twenty years.

In 2009 there were 5,489 deaths from dementia. About 85 per cent of these deaths met persons aged 80 or over. Those who die from dementia have often multiple sicknesses which complicates classification of the underlying cause of death of aged persons.

The number of alcohol-related deaths has almost doubled in twenty years. The biggest growth was seen half-way into the first decade of the 2000s when the alcohol tax was lowered. In the past few years, the number of alcohol-related deaths has remained almost unchanged and even fallen somewhat.

There were 1,034 suicides in Finland in 2009. Three out of four of the persons who committed suicide were men. The number of suicides has remained quite unchanged in the 2000s but fallen clearly from the early 1990s. Persons aged between 45 and 54 committed the largest number of suicides.

Altogether 10,652 men and 3,264 women died at working age (between the ages of 15 and 64). Eighteen per cent of the men who died at working age died of an alcohol-related disease or alcohol poisoning. The cause of death of one in ten of the women who died before retirement age was alcohol-related. Other most widespread causes of death of working-age persons were ischaemic heart diseases among men and breast cancer among women.

Deaths from dementia (incl Alzheimer's disease) 1985–2009

Deaths from dementia (incl Alzheimer's disease) 1985–2009

Suicides by sex 1985–2009

Suicides by sex 1985–2009

Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Helena Korpi 09-1734 3605, Irmeli Penttilä 09-1734 3253, kuolemansyyt@tilastokeskus.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Publication in pdf-format (11 pages 282.8 kB)

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Updated 17.12.2010

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2009. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 28.11.2014].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2009/ksyyt_2009_2010-12-17_tie_001_en.html.

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