DISEASES OF THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM (J00-J99)
Diseases of the respiratory system (J00-J99), which include diseases that impact on the ability to breathe, accounted for 12,529 registered deaths in 2011, which was 8.5% of all registered deaths. In line with the pattern of previous years where more males than females died of this cause, there were 6,558 male deaths compared to 5,971 female deaths due to diseases of the respiratory system. Over the past ten years, females who died of respiratory diseases tended to be older than males at the time of death. The median age at death for males was 82.3 years while for females the median age was 84.8 years.
In 2011, Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47) were the underlying cause of 6,570 deaths or 4.5% of all registered deaths. Chronic lower respiratory diseases include diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. More males than females died from this cause in 2011 (3,483 compared with 3,087). In 2011, the median age at death caused by chronic lower respiratory diseases was 80.9 years for males and 81.7 years for females.
In 2011, Pneumonia (J12-J18) accounted for 2,424 of the 2,492 registered deaths due to Influenza and pneumonia (J09-J18). Pneumonia accounted for 1.6% of all deaths registered in Australia in 2011. As in previous years, more females died from pneumonia than males, with 1,318 female deaths compared with 1,106 male deaths. The median age at death for males was also lower, 85.9 years compared with 89.9 years for females.
The number of deaths from Pneumonitis (J69), which is similar to pneumonia but results from complications of inhalation of solids and liquids, has increased substantially over time, from 677 deaths in 2002 to 1,330 in 2011. The increase in deaths due to this cause was mainly in the 60 years and over age group. In 2002, 641 people aged 60 or over died from pneumonitis, whereas in 2011, 1,280 people aged 60 years or over died from this underlying cause.