The latest figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics have revealed that dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, is currently the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

Dementia is a result of brain damage associated with diseases like Alzheimer's or following a series of strokes. Symptoms for this incurable ailment typically worsen over time, and include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.

Meanwhile, around 850,000 people live with dementia in the UK, but how does this mental affliction kill a person?

Physically, dementia impacts a person's immune system, and their ability to cope with infections. The Alzheimer’s Society reported that a person may die because of a clot on the lung or a heart attack. Pneumonia is listed as the ultimate cause of death in up to two-thirds of people with dementia.

Potential immobility and the side effects of medication are also factors that could contribute to death from dementia. In some cases, dementia is the only cause of death reported, and no other specifics are available, the Alzheimer's Society reported.

"These figures once again call attention to the uncomfortable reality that currently, no one survives a diagnosis of dementia,” Hilary Evans of Alzheimer's Research UK told the BBC. "Dementia is not an inevitable part of aging, it's caused by diseases that can be fought through research, and we must bring all our efforts to bear on what is now our greatest medical challenge."

Previously, heart disease was the leading cause of death in England and Wales (and it is still the number one killer in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ).

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