3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2013 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/03/2015   
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OVERVIEW

Ranking causes of death is a useful method of describing patterns of mortality in a population. It allows comparison over time and between populations. However, different methods of grouping causes of death can result in a vastly different list of leading causes for any given population. For this reason ABS ranks leading causes of death in this publication based on research presented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Volume 84, Number 4, April 2006, 297-304. For further information see Explanatory Notes 34-35.

In 2013, the leading underlying cause of death for all Australians was Ischaemic heart disease (I20-I25), which includes angina, blocked arteries of the heart and heart attacks. Ischaemic heart diseases were identified as the underlying cause of 19,766 deaths, 13.4% of all deaths registered in 2013. The proportion of deaths due to Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25) has decreased over the past 10 years, from 18.5% (24,576) in 2004 to 13.4% (19,766) in 2013.

Historically Cerebrovascular diseases (I60-I69) have been reported as the second leading cause of death. However in 2013 this pattern changed and Dementia and Alzheimer's (F01, F03, G30) became the second leading cause of death. Over the last 10 years Dementia and Alzheimer's (F01, F03, G30) has been increasing, moving from the fifth leading cause in 2004, to the third leading cause in 2008, to now the second leading cause in 2013. The number of deaths due to this cause has increased by 137.4% over the past decade from 4,606 in 2004 to 10,933 in 2013. This is largely due to an increase in deaths due to Dementia (F01, F03), which increased from 2,840 in 2004 to 7,603 in 2013. For further information see Explanatory Note 79.

Cerebrovascular diseases (I60-I69) moved to the third leading underlying cause of death in 2013. Cerebrovascular diseases include haemorrhages, strokes, infarctions and blocked arteries of the brain. Over the last 10 years, deaths due to this cause have decreased by 12.4%, from 12,041 deaths in 2004 to 10,549 deaths in 2013.

Trachea, bronchus and lung cancers (C33-C34) were the fourth leading cause of death in 2013. Over the last 10 years, deaths due to this cause have increased by 13.1%, from 7,264 in 2004 to 8,217 in 2013.

The top 10 leading causes of death accounted for 51.2% of all deaths registered in 2013, and the top 20 leading causes accounted for 67.0%.


2.1 LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH(a), Australia - Selected years - 2004, 2008, 2013(b)

2004
2008
2013
Cause of death and ICD code
no.
Rank
no.
Rank
no.
Rank

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)
24 576
1
23 813
1
19 766
1
Dementia and Alzheimer disease (F01, F03, G30)
4 606
5
8 172
3
10 993
2
Cerebrovascular diseases (I60-I69)
12 041
2
11 979
2
10 549
3
Trachea, bronchus and lung cancer (C33-C34)
7 264
3
7 956
4
8 217
4
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
5 785
4
6 255
5
7 148
5
Diabetes (E10-E14)
3 599
8
4 181
6
4 328
6
Colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus cancer (C18-C21)
4 126
6
4 125
7
4 234
7
Blood and lymph cancer (including leukaemia) (C81-C96)
3 820
7
3 887
8
4 094
8
Heart failure (I50-I51)
2 823
11
3 363
9
3 244
9
Prostate cancer (C61)
2 761
12
3 031
11
3 112
10
Diseases of the urinary system (N00-N39)
2 896
10
3 235
10
2 987
11
Breast cancer (C50)
2 661
13
2 789
12
2 892
12
Pancreatic cancer (C25)
1 978
15
2 289
14
2 558
13
Intentional self-harm (X60-X84)(c)
2 098
14
2 340
15
2 520
14
Influenza and pneumonia (J09-J18)
3 381
9
1 760
17
2 493
15
Skin cancers (C43-C44)
1 573
16
1 857
15
2 209
16
Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15)
1 340
18
1 833
16
2 150
17
Accidental falls (W00-W19)
873
20
1 461
20
1 920
18
Cardiac arrhythmias (I47-I49)
1 229
19
1 550
18
1 892
19
Cirrhosis and other diseases of liver (K70-K76)
1 386
17
1 509
19
1 772
20

(a) Causes listed are the leading causes of death for all deaths registered in 2013, based on WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. See Explanatory Notes 34-35 for further information.
(b) See Explanatory Notes 70-95 for further information on specific issues related to interpreting time-series and 2013 data.
(c) Excludes Sequelae of suicide (Y87.0) as per the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes 87-93.

Another useful way of considering leading causes of death relates to Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL). Years of Potential Life Lost measures the extent of 'premature' mortality, and aids in assessing the significance of specific diseases or trauma as a cause of premature death. In Australia, this is assumed to be any death between the ages of 1-78 years, inclusive. The listing of leading causes used by the ABS is based on the number of deaths, so is determined according to incidence of mortality rather than prematurity of mortality. Table 2.2 presents data for the top 20 leading causes of death by incidence, against the associated YPLL count. The table highlights that while a cause of death may have a lower incidence than that of another, its impact when measured in terms of premature death may be greater, as a result of that cause affecting a younger demographic. Note that the rank of years of potential life lost compares only those conditions in the top 20 leading cause list. Other conditions not listed in this group may have higher associated years of potential life lost.

Years of Potential Life Lost was highest for Intentional self-harm (X60-X84). A total of 85,032 years of potential life lost was due to this cause, even though it was the 14th leading cause of all deaths in 2013. Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-25), which were the second leading cause of death, had the second highest YPLL, with a total of 74,829 years of potential life lost. Trachea, bronchus and lung cancer (C33-C34) was the fourth leading cause of death and had the third highest YPLL with 58,486 years of potential life lost. Although Dementia and Alzheimer disease (F01, F30, G30) was the third leading cause of death, the YPLL ranking of the disease was 18, with 5,789 years of potential life lost.


2.2 LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH(a) AND YEARS OF POTENTIAL LIFE LOST, Australia - Persons - 2013(b)

2013
YPLL
Cause of death and ICD code
no.
Rank
Rank(d)

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)
19 766
1
74 829
2
Dementia and Alzheimer disease (F01, F03, G30)
10,933
2
5 789
18
Cerebrovascular diseases (I60-I69)
10 549
3
24 997
9
Trachea, bronchus and lung cancer (C33-C34)
8 217
4
58 486
3
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
7 148
5
26 385
8
Diabetes (E10-E14)
4 328
6
18 529
11
Colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus cancer (C18-C21)
4 234
7
30 202
5
Blood and lymph cancer (including leukaemia) (C81-C96)
4 094
8
27 822
7
Heart failure (I50-I51)
3 244
9
7 461
15
Prostate cancer (C61)
3 112
10
7 973
13
Diseases of the urinary system (N00-N39)
2 987
11
7 332
16
Breast cancer (C50)
2 892
12
31 687
4
Pancreatic cancer (C25)
2 558
13
17 137
12
Intentional self-harm (X60-X84)(c)
2 520
14
85 032
1
Influenza and pneumonia (J09-J18)
2 493
15
7 754
14
Skin cancers (C43-C44)
2 209
16
18 729
10
Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15)
2 150
17
4 424
19
Accidental falls (W00-W19)
1 920
18
6 269
17
Cardiac arrhythmias (I47-I49)
1 892
19
3 316
20
Cirrhosis and other diseases of liver (K70-K76)
1 772
20
27 867
6

(a) Causes listed are the top 20 leading causes of death for all deaths registered in 2013, based on the WHO-recommended tabulation of leading causes. See Explanatory Notes 34-35 for further information.
(b) See Explanatory Notes 70-95 for further information on specific issues relating to 2013 data.
(c) Excludes Sequelae of suicide (Y87.0) as per the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes 87-93.

(d) The ranking of YPLL data presented in this table is based only on the 20 causes listed. When considering the full listing of leading causes of death, including those not in the top 20, the YPLL ranking would be different. See Explanatory Notes 36-39 for further information on YPLL.