3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2012 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/03/2014   
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Diseases of the respiratory system (J00-J99), which include diseases that impact on the ability to breathe, accounted for 13,258 registered deaths in 2012, which was 9.0% of all registered deaths. In line with the pattern of previous years where more males than females died of this cause, there were 6,823 male deaths compared to 6,435 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 82.7 years while for females the median age was 85.1 years.

In 2012, Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47) were the underlying cause of 6,649 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 2012 (3,542 compared with 3,107). In 2012, the median age at death caused by chronic lower respiratory diseases was 81.0 years for males and 81.9 years for females.

In 2012, Pneumonia (J12-J18) accounted for 2,567 of the 2,719 registered deaths due to Influenza and pneumonia (J09-J18), and 1.7% of all deaths registered in Australia. As in previous years, more females died from pneumonia than males, with 1,493 female deaths compared with 1,074 male deaths. The median age at death was lower for males (86.2 years) than females (89.9 years).

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 647 deaths in 2003 to 1,434 in 2012. The increase in deaths due to this cause was mainly in the 60 years and over age group. In 2003, 615 people aged 60 or over died from pneumonitis, whereas in 2012, 1,385 people aged 60 years or over died from this underlying cause.