Dementia bigger killer than heart attacks
Published: 30 Dec 2012 11:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Dec 2012 11:32 GMT+01:00
For decades, heart attacks were the most common cause of death in Sweden, but now more Swedes are dying from dementia diseases.
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Improvements in healthcare and healthier lifestyles have led to a fall in the number of heart attacks, as well as a fall in death rates among heart attack victims.
That is according to broadsheet Dagens Nyheter (DN), which has analyzed statistics from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).
In 2011, a total of 6,874 Swedes died from heart attacks. That's 4,300 fewer cases than in 2001.
Over 8,000 Swedes died from some form of dementia, including senility. That is a 32 percent jump compared to 2001. Alzheimer's is high one the list of deathly dementia diseases in Sweden.
An ageing population could be one explanation behind the jump.
At the same time, there has also been a fall in death rates for some of the most common diseases in Sweden.
For instance, the number of people dying from the flu or pneumonia has decreased by 25 per cent in the past 10 years.
As Swedes cut down on smoking and fatty foods, cardiovascular death rates drop, too, DN points out.
But the popularity of Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diets could reverse the trend.
A Umeå University study showed that the average cholesterol value among Swedes is on the rise.
"It is a worrying development," said Maria Danielsson, a researcher at the National Board of Health and Welfare.
"We cannot be sure that the number of people dying from cardiovascular diseases will continue to fall," she said.
Cancer death rates have remained steady in Sweden over the past decade, despite advances in medical research.
Deaths among bronchus- and lung-cancer victims has even increased, DN's analysis showed.
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