An estimated 2.6 million people aged 50 plus are living with a serious illness in England with 3.1m over-50s living in serious ill health across the UK as a whole, research has found.
The figures, which said that one in eight or 13.9% of the ageing population are in seriously ill-health, came from analysis by Engage Mutual in its Serious illness in the Over-50s report.
The research said by 2025 an estimated 3.4m of the over-50s in the UK will be living with a serious illness, defined as Alzheimer's and other dementia, Parkinson's, cancer, heart attack and stroke.
The figures revealed a downward trend in cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes since 2002, which combined saw a fall of about 1% in terms of over-50s with those conditions.
Meanwhile the number of people living with cancer, Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia have all seen increases, with about 2% more living with those conditions.
The report found that the 60-64 age group had the highest percentage of first diagnosis of a serious illness.
The report was produced with The International Longevity Centre -UK (ILC-UK). The think tank estimated that figures could stabilise at a fraction of a percent lower rate than currently if over-50s remained healthier for longer.
However because of the ageing of the baby-boomers the ILC-UK warned that the number of those with serious illnesses would increase even with over-50s living in good health for longer.
David Sinclair, director at ILC-UK, said, "This is a fascinating study around the numbers of those living with serious illness and if anything we have been very conservative with the numbers affected because of gaps in data. We must recognise that serious illness will continue to affect ever growing numbers of older people in the future."