Health report details Wollongong's most deadly diseases

Heart attacks, strokes, dementia, diabetes and cancer are among the top 10 causes of death for Wollongong residents according to new figures.

Coronary heart disease accounted for the highest (12.5 per cent) number of deaths, killing 1000 residents in the five years to December 2016.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was the second main cause, with 663 deaths; and cerebrovascular disease led to 596 deaths. Lung cancer (477 deaths) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (381) rounded out the top five.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data looked at the main causes of death for each local government area across the nation, between 2012 and 2016.

While the main causes of death for the Wollongong LGA closely mirrored the nation’s results, there were slight differences.

Diabetes caused 267 deaths – or 3.4 per cent of total deaths – which was 15 per cent higher than the national average. Septicaemia deaths (102 in total) were also higher than the national average – 14 per cent higher.

Meanwhile influenza and pneumonia led to 123 deaths (1.6 per cent) – which was 21 per cent lower than the national average. And suicide deaths (101) were 17 per cent lower than the national average.

In the Shellharbour LGA diabetes and septicaemia were relatively high – 60 per cent and 56 per cent higher than the national averages respectively.  Melanoma was also 36 per cent higher than nationally.

Yet rates of dementia and cerebrovascular disease in Shellharbour were lower than national averages.

Nationwide the figures showed some interesting variations. For example, in the City of Sydney, Perth CBD and Melbourne city, drug overdoses were the seventh most common cause of death, with Sydney losing more than 100 people this way, the most in Australia between 2012 and 2016.

Regional differences are stark in places such as Broken Hill, in the far west of NSW, where the sixth most common cause of death was by dehydration, claiming the lives of 43 people in the five years.

The data also show some state-by-state variations when it comes to the top causes of death.

Victorians were considerably more likely to die of accidental falls or the flu than people in other states or territories. In the Northern Territory and Western Australia, you are far more likely to die in a car crash. 

In Queensland, rates of melanoma deaths were 25 per cent higher than the national rate.

The AIHW complied the figures from the 765,911 deaths recorded in Australia over the period.

- with Sydney Morning Herald

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