Burden

What are the top 20 causes of death in Australia?

Coronary heart disease tops the list.

Coronary heart disease is killing more Australians than any other disease, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The study, Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2011, found that of 188 specific diseases it tracked, five ailments accounted for one-third of all life lost over the study period:

  1. Coronary heart disease
  2. Lung cancer
  3. Stroke
  4. Suicide and self-inflicted injuries
  5. Bowel cancer

The study analysed the years of life lost (YLL) throughout 2011 and found that two disease groups accounted for the majority of YLL in Australia in 2011:

  • Cancers (33% males and 36% females)
  • Cardiovascular diseases (23% in both males and females)

The leading cause of death for both men and women, 14% and 10.0% respectively, was coronary heart disease, which was the cause of 12.1% of all deaths in 2011. The top 20 diseases accounted for nearly two-thirds of YLL for males and females. The study found that men were almost three times more likely than women to die from poisoning and also roughly twice as likely to die in a car accident or from chronic liver disease. Shockingly, men made up 75% of YLL for suicide and self-inflicted injuries. While women only accounted for 41% of all years of life lost during the study period, the results found that they made up 61% of all instances of dementia and more than half of all occurrences of stroke.

RankMalesYLLFemalesYLL
1Coronary heart disease181,678Coronary heart disease94,026
2Lung cancer92,299Stroke63,347
3Suicide & self-inflicted injuries84,178Breast cancer63,026
4Stroke56,642Lung cancer58,905
5Bowel cancer49,443Dementia49,330
6COPD42,865Bowel cancer36,381
7Prostate Cancer40,191COPD32,496
8Poisoning36,974Suicide & self-inflicted injuries27,741
9Chronic liver disease31,655Diabetes22,996
10Dementia31,320Pancreatic cancer19,544
11Diabetes31,114Ovarian cancer18,789
12RTI -- motor vehicle occupants28,982Chronic kidney disease14,965
13Pancreatic cancer24,347Unknown primary14,921
14Melonoma of the skin21,732Other malignant cancers14,446
15Liver cancer21,523Chronic liver disease14,178
16Brain cancers20,740Other cardiovascular diseases13,880
17Unknown primary19,294Poisoning13,680
18Oesophageal cancer18,136Brain cancers13,667
19Leukaemia17,658Other blood and metabolic13,367
20Other cardiovascular disease16,074RTI–motor vehicle occupants13,188
Top 20 diseases866,846Top 20 diseases612,873
All other diseases458,640All other diseases331,742
Total1,325,486Total944,615

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Picture: Shutterstock.com

Richard Laycock

Richard is the insurance editor at finder.com.au. He is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

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