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3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2007 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/03/2009   
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Contents >> Introduction >> National Health Priority Areas

NATIONAL HEALTH PRIORITY AREAS

Australia's National Health Priority Areas are diseases and conditions given focused attention because of their significant contribution to the burden of illness and injury in the Australian community.

The eight priority areas are arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, asthma, cancer control, cardiovascular health, diabetes mellitus, injury prevention and control, mental health and obesity. In 2007, deaths due to the eight National Health Priority Areas accounted for 77% of all underlying causes of death and were either associated with or the underlying cause of 90% of deaths.

In this section, data are aggregated to present broad information about deaths due to each of the National Health Priority Areas.

Cardiovascular Disease (I00-I99)

Cardiovascular health relates to the health of the heart and blood vessels. The major underlying causes of death relating to cardiovascular health are coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure and peripheral vascular disease. Cardiovascular Disease (I00-I99) was the underlying cause for 46,626 deaths registered in Australia during 2007, which represents 34% of all deaths. These diseases contributed to a total of 78,351 deaths as either an underlying or associated cause of death.

Five of the top 20 leading causes of death in 2007 were attributable to some form of Cardiovascular Disease. These five causes accounted for 40,688 deaths or 30% of all registered deaths in 2007. See the Leading Causes of Death section for this publication (Chapter 2) for further information.

The standardised death rate for Cardiovascular Disease was 196.8 per 100,000 population in 2007, a decrease from 201.0 per 100,000 population in 2006 and 299.7 per 100,000 population in 1998. The standardised death rate for males in 2007 was 235.6 per 100,000, and 164.4 per 100,000 for females.

Of those deaths due to Cardiovascular Disease, 47% were male and 53% were female. Females dying from these diseases had a slightly higher median age at death, 86.7 years compared with 80.8 years for males. The potential life lost due to Cardiovascular Disease was also higher for males than females, 115,940 years for males compared with 48,970 for females. (See Explanatory Notes 46-50 for further information on Years of Potential Life Lost).

Cancer (C00-D48)

Cancer refers to a diverse group of diseases in which abnormal cells develop and divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. Cancer can spread throughout the body causing further damage. In 2007, cancer was the underlying cause of death for 40,287 registered deaths in Australia. This accounted for 29% of all registered deaths. Cancer contributed to a total of 46,039 deaths as either an underlying or associated cause of death.

The standardised death rate for Cancer was 177.7 per 100,000 population in 2007, a decrease from 180.6 per 100,000 population in 2006 and 199.8 per 100,000 population in 1998. The standardised death rate for males in 2007 was 227.3 per 100,000, and 140.3 per 100,000 for females.

More males than females died of cancer with 130 male deaths per 100 female deaths for the 2007 registration year. The median age of persons dying from cancer in 2007 was 74.7 years for males, 75.3 years for females and 74.9 years for all cancer deaths. Potential life lost due to cancer deaths was 186,439 years for males and 148,808 years for females.

Injuries (V01-Y98)

Injuries due to external causes of death relate to cases where the underlying cause of death is determined to be one of a group of causes external to the body (for example suicide, transport accidents, falls, poisoning etc).

In 2007, Injuries (V01-Y98) accounted for 7,893 deaths, or 5.7% of all registered deaths. The standardised death rate for Injuries was 36.1 per 100,000 of population in 2007, a decrease from 36.7 in 2006 and from 44.6 per 100,000 population in 1998. The standardised death rate for males in 2007 was 50.9 per 100,000 and 22.1 per 100,000 for females.

Compared to women, more men at younger ages have died from Injuries over time. Consistent with previous years, approximately two thirds of the total number of deaths resulting from Injuries were males (5,168, 65%). Median age at death for deaths due to Injuries was 45.5 years for males, 66.6 years for females and 50.8 years overall. Potential life lost due to Injuries were 159,234 years for males and 54,231 years for females.

Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease (M00-M99)

Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease (M00-M99) are conditions in which there is inflammation of the joints that can cause pain, stiffness, disability and deformity. It also includes other joint problems and disorders of the bones, muscles and their attachments. Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease was the underlying cause for 1,091 or 0.8% of all registered deaths in Australia in 2007. Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease was identified as either an underlying cause or associated cause of death for 6,091 deaths registered in 2007.

The standardised death rate for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease was 4.6 per 100,000 population in 2007, a decrease from 4.8 per 100,000 population in 2006, but an increase from 4.3 per 100,000 population in 1998. The standardised death rate for males in 2007 was 3.6 per 100,000, and 5.3 per 100,000 for females.

Of all deaths due to Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disease in 2007, 751 or 69% were females, predominantly in the 75 - 94 year age group. Median age at death for deaths due to these diseases was 80.9 years for males, 85.1 years for females and 83.5 years overall. Potential life lost due to deaths from these diseases was 1,733 years for males and 2,995 years for females.

Mental Health Disorders (F00-F99)

Mental Health Disorders relate to behaviours and conditions which interfere with social functioning and capacity to negotiate daily life. Deaths due to Mental Health Disorders (F00-F99) were identified as the underlying cause of 5,715 registered deaths, representing 4.1% of all registered deaths in Australia during 2007. This was an increase of 559 (11%) when compared with 2006. In total, 19,734 deaths were due to, or associated with, Mental Health Disorders.

The prevalence of Mental Health Disorders as an underlying cause has increased significantly over the last ten years. In 2007, the standardised death rate for Mental Health Disorders was 23.6 per 100,000 of population, an increase from 22.3 in 2006 and from 16.5 per 100,000 population in 1998. The standardised death rate for males in 2007 was 23.5 per 100,000, and 23.0 per 100,000 for females.

In 2007, more than half of deaths due to Mental health disorders were of females (3,613, 63%). The median age at death was higher for females at 88.5 years, compared with 84.4 years for males. Consistent with this difference, the potential life lost as a result of deaths due to Mental health disorders was 7,685 years for males and 3,843 years for females.

Dementia (F01-F03) accounted for 88% of Mental health disorders in 2007. There were 5,048 deaths registered in 2007 for which Dementia was the underlying cause. Of these, 1,686 were males, and 3,362 females, giving a sex ration of 50.1 males per 100 female deaths. The median age at death due to dementia was 86.0 years for males, 89.0 years for females, and 87.8 years overall. For further information regarding Dementia, see Explanatory Note 66.

Diabetes (E10-E14)

Diabetes is a disorder caused by the inability of the body to control the amount of sugar in the blood. If left untreated, diabetes can severely damage organs in the body. Diabetes (E10-E14) was the underlying cause for 3,810 (2.8%) deaths registered deaths in Australia in 2007. Diabetes contributed to 13,101 (9.5%) deaths as either an underlying or associated cause of death.

The standardised death rate for Diabetes was 16.5 per 100,000 population in 2007, an increase from 16.4 per 100,000 population in 2006 and in 1998. The standardised death rate for males in 2007 was 19.9 per 100,000, and 13.8 per 100,000 for females.

Median age at death due to Diabetes was 78.4 years for males, 82.8 years for females and 80.7 years overall. Potential life lost through death due to diabetes was 11,243 years for males and 6,530 years for females.

Asthma (J45-J46)

Asthma is a disease which causes narrowing of the airways into the lung causing breathing difficulties. In 2007, Asthma (J45-J46) was the underlying cause for 385 registered deaths, or 0.3% of all deaths. Asthma was identified as either an underlying cause or associated cause of death for 1,325 (1.0%) deaths registered in 2007.

The standardised death rate for Asthma was 1.7 per 100,000 population in 2007, a decrease from 1.8 per 100,000 population in 2006 and from 2.7 per 100,000 population in 1998. The standardised death rate for males in 2007 was 1.4 per 100,000, and 1.9 per 100,000 for females.

Median age at death for deaths due to Asthma was 71.0 years for males, 82.1 years for females and 79.4 years overall. The potential life lost due to asthma deaths was 2,097 years for males and 2,113 years for females.

Obesity (E66)

When the energy consumed from food and drink is greater than the energy used, fat is deposited on the body, which over time can lead to Obesity. Obesity increases the risk of many other chronic and potentially lethal diseases. There were 169 deaths registered in 2007 where Obesity (E66) was identified as the underlying cause of death. In total, there were 869 deaths where Obesity was mentioned as either underlying cause, or an associated cause of death.

In 2007, the standardised death rate for Obesity was 0.8 per 100,000 of population, the same as it was in 2006, and an increase from 0.7 per 100,000 population in 1998. The standardised death rate for males in 2007 was 0.8 per 100,000 males and for females, 0.7 per 100,000 females.

Of those deaths where Obesity was the underlying cause, 87 (51%) were of males, and 82 (49%) were of females. The median age at death due to Obesity for males and females was also similar, 58.5 years for males and 61.0 years for females. Median age at death was 59.5 years for all deaths due to Obesity. Potential life lost from deaths due to Obesity was 1,873 years for males and 1,431 years for females.


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