3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2010 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/03/2012   
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20 March 2012
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra Time)

Heart diseases decrease over a decade

The proportion of deaths from heart disease has decreased over the past decade, accounting for 15% of all deaths in 2010, compared with 20% in 2001, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Circulatory diseases and neoplasms (of which 98% were cancers) accounted for just over six in 10 deaths in 2010. Over the last 10 years the proportion of deaths due to circulatory diseases has decreased from 38% in 2001 to 32% in 2010. Deaths due to Neoplasms have increased from 29% in 2001 to 30% in 2010. The leading cause of death in Australia in 2010 was ischaemic heart disease.

Deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer's disease have more than doubled over the past 10 years, accounting for 6.3% of all deaths in 2010 compared to 2.9% in 2001. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are now the third leading cause of death overall. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are most prevalent amongst females where they are the third leading cause of death, compared to sixth for males.

Lung cancer was responsible for the most deaths caused by cancer and is the fourth leading cause overall. Lung cancer accounted for 5.6% of all deaths and is the second leading cause of death for males and the fourth leading cause for females.

There were 2,359 deaths due to suicide in 2010. Males accounted for over three-quarters of all suicide deaths, with suicide ranking as the tenth leading cause of death of males, and the fifteenth leading cause overall. Suicide accounted for 24% of all deaths amongst 15-24 year old males and 22% of 15-24 year old females in 2010.

In 2010, the mortality rate was over two times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians than for non-Indigenous Australians.

Ischaemic heart disease remains the leading cause of death amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, accounting for 13% of all Indigenous deaths. Deaths due to diabetes are over-represented in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, with the age-standardised death rate almost eight times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians than for non-Indigenous Australians.

In 2010, there were 2,609 perinatal deaths registered in Australia, compared with 2,671 registered in 2009, a decrease of 2.3%. This was 1.5% higher than the number registered in 2001 (2,571).

Further information is available in Causes of Death, Australia, 2010.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call Lifeline (13 11 14), Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) or Kids Helpline (for young people aged 5 to 25 years) (1800 551 800)

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 2010 suicide data with previous years. See Explanatory notes 28-32, 48-60 and 80-83 for further information.
  • Leading causes of death data is compiled as per World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations. See Explanatory notes 39-41 for further information.
  • In this context, circulatory diseases includes ICD-10 codes I00-I99
  • 'Neoplasms' are abnormal tissue growths, or tumours. The term includes ICD-10 codes C00-D48
  • 'Heart disease' refers to ischaemic heart diseases, including angina, blocked arteries of the heart, and heart attack (I20-I25).
  • 'Dementia and Alzheimer's disease' includes ICD-10 codes F01, F03, G30.
  • ‘Lung cancer’ refers to Trachea, bronchus and lung cancers and includes ICD-10 codes C33-C34.
  • ‘Suicide' includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84, but excludes the Sequelae of Suicide (Y87.0) in line with WHO recommendations.
  • Age-standardised death rates allow comparisons of populations and take into account changes in population structure and size over time. See Explanatory notes 53-55 for further information.
  • In this context, circulatory disease describes diseases of the heart and blood vessels, and includes ICD-10 codes I00-I99
  • Perinatal deaths comprise stillbirths (fetal deaths) and deaths of infants within the first 28 completed days of life (neonatal deaths).
  • When reporting ABS statistics, please attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) as the source.