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Dementia is the leading cause of death in women for the third year running, according to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The data also indicated it is the second leading cause of death for all Australians.

Deaths due to dementia have overall increased 68.6% since 2009.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said without a major medical breakthrough deaths from dementia were likely to continue.

Ms McCabe said currently more than 447,000 Australians lived with dementia. She said the number was expected to increase to almost 1.1 million by 2058.

“While age is a risk factor, dementia is not a normal part of ageing,’ Ms McCabe said. “It is a progressive and, ultimately, terminal disease.”

According to the ABS report, deaths from dementia mostly occur because of complicating factors such as immobility, incontinence, instability, malnutrition and impaired immune function.  Sufferers can also become frail, have breathing difficulties, and develop infections, all of which can lead to death.