Dementia to be Netherlands' most common cause of death by 2040

Dementia is expected to be the main cause of death for people in the Netherlands by 2040. In the next 23 years the number of dementia related deaths will grow from 14 thousand to 40 thousand, according to a new study published by public health institute RIVM on Wednesday, ANP report.

The increase in dementia related deaths can be attributed to the aging population. Dementia is a collective name for over 50 age related diseases, including Alzheimer's. It is possible to live with dementia for several years, but patients gradually weaken. There is currently no cure.

According to the RIVM, other age related diseases such as joint problems, diabetes and visual and hearing impairments will also increase significantly in the coming years. For example, the number of people with arthritis is expected to almost double to 1.2 million by 2040. The number of people with at least one chronic disease will increase from 8.5 million to 10 million.

At the same time, fewer people will die from cardiovascular diseases or cancer in the coming years. "We will still feel as healthy in 2040 as we do now, and will also not experience further restrictions in our activities. The percentage of older people who feel healthy is even increasing somewhat", the RIVM said. 

The RIVM also calculated that spending on healthcare will grow by an average of 2.9 percent annually. This will double care costs to 174 billion euros in 2040. A third of this increase can be attributed to population growth and aging, the other two thirds to technology and rising prosperity.