AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public consultation Public Interest Disclosure Strategic Directions 2011-2014 Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publicationsOnline reportsRate our publication effectivenessSubscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR—metadata online registry Data by subject Catalogue of holdings of AIHW data Customised data analysis request Data governance framework Data linking Data standards Privacy of data
By subject Adoptions Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse Chronic disease indicators Deaths
Disability Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General practice (GP) data Hospitals Height and weight data sources Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM)
Medical indemnity Mental health National indicator catalogue National core maternity indicators (NCMI) Perinatal data Risk factors statistics Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee AODTS NMDS WG CKDMAC CMAG CSDWG CVDMAC HEAC HHIMG
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC NAGATSIHID NCIAG NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDD
NMDS NMHPSC NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees YIAG
Education worksheets Infographics What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Worksheets by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Media releases Subscribe to release notices Media FAQ Media contacts
You are here:
Traditional analysis of causes of death in Australia (which focus on one underlying cause of death rather than multiple causes of death) can underestimate the contribution of some chronic diseases, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Multiple causes of death: an analysis of all natural and selected chronic disease causes of death 1997-2007, uses multiple causes of death statistics, for the first time, to describe patterns of chronic disease mortality in Australia. Multiple causes of death occur when two or more diseases or conditions are reported as contributing to a death.
'Some chronic diseases are more likely to be reported as an associated cause of death, rather than the main cause of death,' said AIHW spokesperson Ann Hunt.
'Traditional analysis ignores associated causes of death, and so underestimates the contribution of diseases such as chronic kidney failure, diabetes, asthma, dementia and Alzheimer diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to deaths in Australia.'
On average, three diseases contributed to each death due to natural causes in Australia in 2007, and only 20% of these deaths were due to a single disease.
'The report also shows an increase in the number of deaths where five or more causes contributed-up from 11% to 21% between 1997 and 2007,' Ms Hunt said.
People aged 60-89 years, had the highest average number of diseases causing death, more so than younger people and the very old.
For deaths involving some chronic diseases, coronary heart disease (CHD), hypertensive diseases and diabetes were leading contributing causes.
'CHD contributed to nearly half of deaths involving diabetes, and more than one third involving chronic and unspecified kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma,' Ms Hunt said.
One quarter of deaths involving dementia or Alzheimer disease also involved influenza or pneumonia.
'The use of multiple cause data gives a more complete picture of all diseases contributing to death, which can also support targeted prevention, treatment and service planning, inform surveillance, guide research investments and enhance health measures such as estimates of burden of disease,' Ms Hunt said.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Canberra, 23 August 2012
Further information: Ann Hunt, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1238, mob. 0418 271 395
Full report: Multiple causes of death: an analysis of all natural and selected chronic disease causes of death 1997-2007