Australia : Demetia leading cause of mortality


Fraser Clarke

Dementia is now the leading cause of death amongst women in Australia, with data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that deaths from the condition have risen above ischaemic heart disease for the first time.

According to the report, heart disease still leads the gender-combined table, with 12% of all deaths in the country being as a direct result of a heart attack or similar. This figure has dropped drastically over the last ten years however, with it sitting a third higher in the 2006 report.

Commenting on the change, James Eynstone-Hinkins, Director of the ABS, said: “Improvements in treatments and prevention of heart disease have contributed to increased life expectancy, but this has also led to increased deaths from conditions such as dementia which affect predominantly very elderly Australians.”

His comments about dementia certainly go some way to explaining why rates in the country have shot up recently. In 2006 dementia was classed as the fourth biggest killer in Australia, it has now risen two places - above cerebrovascular diseases and respiratory cancers. Given the continual increase in rates, and the lower number of people suffering from heart conditions, it may only be a matter of time before it is the country’s biggest cause of death.

In the rest of the report there were a range of interesting findings: Cancer accounts for 30% of all deaths overall, with cerebrovascular, respiratory and lymphatic cancers the most common.

Australia’s suicide rate has dropped slightly, however it remains the biggest killer of those between the ages of 15 and 44 in the country - causing 11.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

Infant mortality has dropped too, with rates now reaching a record low of just 3.1 deaths per 1000 live births.

Australia has been one of the most popular locations with expats looking for a healthier work/life balance overseas for many years now. With an exciting new partnership in Western Australia we’ve got plenty of exciting opportunities on offer for Western trained physicians in the country too.

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