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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25 March 2014
Heart disease deaths still falling, but dementia on the rise

Deaths from heart disease have fallen steadily since 2003, while deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease continue to increase, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“Heart disease is still the leading cause of death, with 20,046 deaths in 2012, however this has fallen steadily since 2003. Heart disease accounted for 14 per cent of all deaths in 2012 compared to 19 per cent of all deaths in 2003," said James Eynstone-Hinkins, ABS Director of the Health and Vitals Statistics Unit.

“There were 10,779 deaths from Cerebrovascular diseases (including haemorrhages, strokes, infarctions and blocked arteries of the brain) in 2012, making these the second most common cause of death.

“Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was the third leading cause of death, accounting for 10,369 or seven per cent of all deaths in 2012. Most (95 per cent) of these deaths occurred in people aged 75 or over.

“For women, dementia and Alzheimer's disease has overtaken Cerebrovascular diseases as the second leading cause of death in 2012, while breast cancer remained the sixth most common cause of death.

“For men, lung cancer remains the second leading cause of death. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease is now the fifth leading cause, replacing prostate cancer which is now ranked sixth for males.

“Suicide was the 14th most common cause of death in 2012 overall, but remains the 10th leading cause for men. Suicide is the leading cause of death for males and females aged between 15 and 44.

“Overall, the death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders was double that of non-Indigenous Australians. The leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was heart disease, with diabetes ranked as the second leading cause.” said Mr Eynstone-Hinkins.

Further details can be found in Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0), available for free download from the ABS website.

Media notes:
Care should be taken when reporting suicide deaths in the media. Please refer to the Mindframe website for further guidance.
Care should be taken when interpreting figures relating to suicide and when comparing 2012 suicide data with previous years. See Explanatory notes 29-33, 56-67 and 92-94 for further information.
'Dementia and Alzheimer's disease' includes International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 codes F01, F03, G30.
‘Lung cancer’ refers to Trachea, bronchus and lung cancers and includes ICD-10 codes C33-C34.
Leading causes of death data is compiled as per World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations. See Explanatory notes 41-43 for further information.
'Heart disease' refers to ischaemic heart diseases, including angina, blocked arteries of the heart, and heart attack (I20-I25).
‘Cerebrovascular diseases’ includes ICD-10 codes I60-I69.