More People Die of Alzheimer's

  • By Choi Jong-seok

    September 25, 2017 11:19

    A record 280,000 people died last year as the population ages rapidly. The number of deaths from Alzheimer's disease more than doubled from 10 years earlier. One in four of the deceased died of cancer.

    Colorectal cancer was among the top three deadliest cancers alongside lung and liver cancer, overtaking stomach cancer for the first time.

    According to Statistics Korea on Friday, 280,827 people died in the country last year, the most since statistics began in 1983. The percentage of deaths among people over 80 stood at 42.5 percent, up 11.8 percentage points from 10 years earlier.

    Some 17.9 per 100,000 people died of Alzheimer's, a slight decrease from the previous year but more than double the 8.8 deaths 10 years earlier. More than twice as many women (24.7) as men (11.2) died of Alzheimer's, because women not only live longer than men but also experience dwindling estrogen in menopause, increasing the risk of dementia. 

    The top cause of death was cancer, which killed 27.8 percent of those who died last year, up 1.4 percent from 2015.

    Deaths from cancer are increasing despite medical progress. Some 16.5 per 100,000 people died of colorectal cancer, which overtook stomach cancer (16.2 deaths) and joined the top three deadliest cancers alongside lung cancer (35.1) and liver cancer (21.5) for the first time.

    Lee Ji-yeon of Statistics Korea said, "It seems that the incidence of colorectal and pancreatic cancers is increasing due to a westernized diet with a lot of fatty food."

    The suicide rate was 25.6 per 100 000 people, a solid decrease since it peaked at 31.7 in 2011. But Korea still ranked a distant first in the OECD, where the average among member states is 12.

    Seoul had the fewest deaths at 298.4 per 100 000 people and North Chungcheong Province the most at 372.5. The top killer in Busan was cancer, in South Gyeongsang Province cardiac diseases, in Ulsan cerebrovascular diseases, in Gangwon Province pneumonia, in South Jeolla Province traffic accidents, and in North Chungcheong Province suicide.

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