THE number of people in Renfrewshire dying from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia has more than tripled in the past 20 years, a new report has revealed.

Latest figures from government agency National Records of Scotland (NRS) show the annual death toll in the local area has soared from 66 in 2001 to 215 last year.

Julie Ramsay, NRS statistician, said dementia is now one of the most common causes of death in Scotland, second only to heart disease.

She added: “The current rate of death is more than twice as high as it was in 2000.”

Last year, a total of 6,046 deaths were caused by dementia in Scotland, compared to 2,133 in 2001.

There was a spike in deaths in 2020 related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two-thirds of those who died from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia last year were women.

Deaths from dementia are more likely to take place in deprived areas of Scotland compared to affluent communities, with cases highest in the Lanarkshire, Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Forth Valley health board areas.

The long-term rise in deaths from dementia is being linked to people living longer and better diagnosis of the condition.

Kainde Manji, head of dementia at the Age Scotland charity, said: “These figures reinforce the fact Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are one of the highest causes of death in Scotland.

“They emphasise the need for early diagnosis, preventative social care and community-based support.

“There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that people live longer and have better outcomes than those who don’t have access to this kind of support.

“By focusing on funding these types of initiatives, we can ensure that people affected by dementia can live longer and live well.”

Jim Pearson, director of policy and practice at Alzheimer Scotland, added: “Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are among the leading causes of death in Scotland.

“With over 90,000 people currently living with dementia in Scotland and this number predicted to increase, this a public health priority.

“We must support individuals to live well for as long as possible.”