Drug overdose now biggest killer of middle-aged men

Deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer disease continued to increase in 2018 and remain the leading cause of death in England and Wales, accounting for 12.8 per cent per cent of all deaths registered, according to figures from the Office of National statistics.

And while suicide is still the leading cause of death for men aged 20 to 34, it is no longer the biggest killer of middle-aged men. More deaths were caused by drug overdose in the 35-49 age group. In 2018 there were 1,336 deaths attributed to this cause, accounting for 12.5 per cent of deaths for men in this age group, up from 10.9 per cent in 2017.

Leading cause of death by age group and sex in England and Wales, 2018

Males                                                                       % of male deaths

All ages                 Ischaemic heart diseases              13.2

20 to 34                Suicide and injury/poisoning         25.9

35 to 49                Accidental poisoning                     12.5

50 to 64                Ischaemic heart diseases              17.3

65 to 79                Ischaemic heart diseases              14.8

80+                      Dementia and Alzheimer’s            15.1

Females                                                                  % of female deaths

All ages                 Dementia and Alzheimer’s            16.7

20 to 34                Suicide and injury/poisoning         15.6

35 to 49                Malignant neoplasm of breast       12.6

50 to 64                Malignant neoplasm of breast      10.1

65 to 79                Malignant neoplasm of trachea,

                            bronchus and lung,                    10.1

80+                      Dementia and Alzheimer’s          23.6

Source: Office for National Statistics

Deaths from asthma attacks are the highest they have been in the past decade and have increased by 33 per cent over that period, according to Asthma UK’s analysis of the ONS data. More than 1,400 people died from an asthma attack last year (436 men and 986 women), an 8 per cent increase compared to 2017.

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