Dementia is the most common underlying condition in people dying from COVID-19 in Scotland

16 July 2020

Dementia is the most common underlying condition in people dying from COVID-19 in Scotland, new figures have revealed.

The National Records of Scotland showed that of all deaths involving COVID-19 between March and June 2020, 92% had at least one pre-existing condition. The most common main pre-existing condition was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (31%).

Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, has called for more research to understand the link between COVID-19 and dementia.

Samantha Benham-Hermetz, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“People with dementia, and their loved ones, have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 and this news will be very frightening for all those affected. As restrictions on everyday life begin to ease, we cannot afford to overlook the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on so many lives, including those with dementia, and we must continue efforts to bring a stop to it.

“More research is needed to understand the link between COVID-19 and dementia, so we can urgently work out why people with the condition are being disproportionality impacted. Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia, and with older people also more likely to experience severe symptoms from COVID-19, this may partly explain the high number of deaths. The high rates of infection in care homes is also putting people with dementia at a higher risk of being badly affected by COVID-19.

“While we wait to see the true impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia, we must push forward with research efforts and improve testing, particularly in care homes, so we can put the right measures in place to save lives.”