Deaths from dementia and diabetes rise

Richard Laycock 27 September 2017

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While deaths from ischaemic heart diseases decline.

Ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of death in 2016, accounting for 19,077 deaths and responsible for 12.0% of all deaths in Australia, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Dementia was the second leading cause of death in 2016 with 13,126 deaths, equalling 8.3% of all deaths. Six out of the top ten causes for deaths have seen a gradual increase in deaths since 2007.

"Improvements in treatments and prevention of heart disease have contributed to increased life expectancy, but this has also led to increased deaths from conditions such as dementia which affect predominantly very elderly Australians," director of health and vital statistics at the ABS, James Eynstone-Hinkins, said in a statement.

The number of people dying from diabetes also rose in 2016 accounting for 4,770 deaths (3%). While diabetes was the seventh overall highest cause of death in Australia, it was the second leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Australia also saw its highest number of drug-induced deaths since the late 1990s.

Drug-induced deaths now account for 7.5 deaths per 100,000 Australians and have been steadily rising over the past decade.

"There were 1,808 drug induced deaths in 2016, with those deaths most commonly associated with Benzodiazepines and Oxycodone," said Eynstone-Hinkins.

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