Heart disease and dementia the nation’s top killers.

Dementia is one of Australia's biggest killers according to a new report.
Dementia is one of Australia's biggest killers according to a new report. Patrick Gorbunovs

HEART disease and dementia are the nation's biggest killers.

Today's Australian Bureau of Statistics' Causes of Death report reveals 20,000 people died from heart disease in 2013.

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, with 11,000 deaths, were a close second.


The report shows cancer claimed more lives than  circulatory diseases while  suicide was the leading cause of premature death in Australia.

More than 8000 people died from lung cancer in 2013 and colon, blood, prostate, breast, pancreatic and skin cancers were in the top-20 causes of death.

About 2520 Australians died by their own hand in 2013 and most victims were aged between 15 and 44.

ABS statistician James Eynstone-Hinkins said medical breakthroughs were helping people live longer.

"Deaths from dementia and Alzheimer's disease have been increasing in number for many years and now outrank cerebrovascular diseases as the second leading cause of death of Australians," the  Health and Vitals statistical unit director said.

"Advancements in treatment of circulatory diseases have decreased the number of deaths from these conditions.
"As life expectancy increases - now at 80.1 years for males and 84.3 years for females - it is likely the number of deaths from dementia will continue to grow.

"These large scale shifts in patterns of mortality provide critical insights into the multitude of factors which impact on the health of Australians."

If you or someone you know is experiencing problems relating to mental health contact Lifeline on 131 114.

Support is also available through beyondblue or 1300 224 636.  


  • 147,678 people died in 2013.
  • Life expectancy - 80.1  for males and 84.3  for females
  • Male deaths - 75,782 
  • Female deaths - 71,896
  • Heart disease- 20,000 deaths
  • Dementia and Alzheimer's  - 11,000 deaths
  • Life expectancy - 80.1  for males and 84.3  for females
  • Lung cancer -  8,000 deaths
  • Suicide -  2520 deaths

SOURCE: Australian Bureau of Statistics' Causes of Death report.

Topics:  dementia editors picks health heart disease

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