SBS KAREN

Heart disease, dementia Australia's biggest killers

Mshtuko wa moyo ni sababu kubwa ya vifo nchini Australia

Despite a drop in overall deaths, heart disease remains Australia's biggest killer.

Heart disease remains Australia's biggest killer despite a drop in overall deaths, with dementia continuing to edge higher in second place.

heart attack
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The latest data from the Australian Institute of Heath and Welfare, released on Wednesday, shows 18,590 people died of coronary heart disease in 2017, down from 19,077 in the previous year.

Deaths from dementia including Alzheimer's disease rose from 13,126 to 13,729 year-on-year, with women accounting for more than 8800 of the people whose underlying cause of death was from those conditions in 2017.

Stroke and other cerebrovascular disease was the third biggest killer, while lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease rounded out the top five.

In 2017, there were 160,909 total deaths in Australia or 529 per 100,000 people. Some 82,858 males died, more than the 78,051 female deaths during the year.

But the numbers continue a long decline in overall death rates, which have fallen 72 per cent for men between 1907 and 2017 and 76 for women over the same period.

The gap between male and female deaths in 2017 was its narrowest, sitting at 180 deaths per 100,000 people.

The figures also show death rates increase according to how remote a person's location is, with people in major cities the only cohort less than the national rate.

Premature and potentially avoidable deaths are also higher in the country than the city, with the highest figures recorded in very remote areas.

Overall live expectancy has edged higher with a boy born between 2015 and 2017 expected to live to the age of 80.5, while a girl would be expected to make it to 84.6.

But there remains a grim gap between indigenous Australians and the rest of the country, with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimated to live 8.6 years less for males and 7.8 years for females.

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