3. One in three persons aged 85 or over died of dementia and Alzheimer's disease

In 2018, over 10,000 Finns died of dementia including Alzheimer's disease, which is 700 persons more than in 2017. The number of deaths from dementia has 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 primary 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 primary cause of death.

Mortality from dementia and Alzheimer's disease has increased annually as much for 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 2016. By contrast, pneumonia mortality was the lowest in EU countries in Finland. Pneumonia is a common immediate cause of death but a rarer primary cause of death in Finland than in other EU countries.

Figure 6. Age-standardised dementia mortality (incl. Alzheimer’s disease) 1971 to 2018

Figure 6. Age-standardised dementia mortality (incl. Alzheimer’s disease) 1971 to 2018

Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

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

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 16.12.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2018, 3. One in three persons aged 85 or over died of dementia and Alzheimer's disease . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.1.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2018/ksyyt_2018_2019-12-16_kat_003_en.html