Data shows heart disease as Australia’s leading cause of death

Australia on map [Photo credit: Operation World]
Australia on map [Photo credit: Operation World]

Heart disease is still Australia’s leading cause of death but alcohol-induced deaths are on the decline, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday.

The data revealed that 160,909 people died in Australia in 2017, noting that heart disease remained the most common cause of death in that country, followed by dementia, cerebrovascular disease, chronic lower respiratory disease and lung cancer.

The data stated that “in 2017, the rate of lung cancer, however, decreased and it has moved down to be the fifth leading cause of death.”

The document quoted Justine Boland, Programme Manager of Health and Disability Branch at the ABS as saying “there was, however, an increase in deaths due to chronic lower respiratory diseases, including emphysema.

“Emphysema, which is now the fourth leading cause of death, shows that smoking related illness is still a serious public health issue in Australia.

“Cancers accounted for 30 per cent of all deaths with colorectal, breast and prostate cancers joining lung cancer as biggest killers.

“The rate of deaths directly attributed to alcohol was 5.1 per 100,000, down from 6.6 per 100,000 20 years ago.

“There were 1,366 alcohol-induced deaths in 2017, with those deaths most commonly occurring in males aged in their early 60s and caused by alcoholic liver diseases.”

However, when broadened to include all deaths where alcohol was a factor rather than the cause, there were 4,186 deaths, Mr Boland added.

He noted that Australian women recorded the highest level of alcohol-related deaths for 20 years at 7.0 deaths per 100,000.

The number of deaths from influenza almost tripled from 464 in 2016 to 1255 in 2017 on account of bad flu season.
Australia maintained one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates at 3.3 deaths per 1000 live births.


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