Heart disease deaths in decline, but still No. 1 cause of death for Australian men

The number of deaths from ischaemic heart disease has declined dramatically in the past decade but it remains the leading cause of death – at least for males.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures for 2017 show that the death rate from IHD decreased from 99.4 deaths per 100,000 people in 2008 to 59.3 per 100,000 in 2017. IHD accounted for 11.6% of all deaths, with numbers decreasing by 22% from 23,813 to 18,590 between 2008 and 2017.

However IHD remained the leading cause of death in Australia overall, ranking number 1  ahead of dementia/Alzheimers disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic lower respiratory disease and lung cancer.

Gender differences in ischaemic heart disease were evident, with it being the leading cause  of death for males (10,514 in 2017) but the second for females (8076, behind dementia).

In terms of impact of premature death, IHD ranked second, with 70,359 potential years of life lost compared to 108,081 years for suicide. Cerebrovascular disease was also prominent in terms of premature death with 26,260 years of life lost.

Other cardiovascular conditions featured prominently in the top 20 causes of death, including heart failure (11th, 3,047 deaths); cardiac arrhythmias   (17th, 2330 deaths) and hypertensive disease (18th, 2317 deaths).

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