Cardiovascular disease and cancers account for most deaths in the Western Cape

Cape Town | More than 61% of the deaths in the Western Cape province, according to the South African Medical Research Council’s (SAMRC’s) Second Burden of Disease Survey, are from non-communicable diseases, the main contributor of these deaths being cardiovascular causes (23.4%) and cancers (18.5%). However, HIV/AIDS (14.9%) is still the single leading cause of death for the province, followed by ischemic heart disease (10.3%) and stroke (8.1%). The study into the Western Cape’s death profile is based on an estimated 46,450 total deaths. Of these 21,019 were female while 25, 431 were male.

“The death profile of the Western Cape province requires a response plan that is divorced from standard interventions.  Healthy lifestyle choices coupled with measures of prevention and early diagnosis can improve the health profile of the country and affect the death profile of each province”, says Professor Glenda Gray, President & CEO of the SAMRC. 

The study confirmed that nationally non-communicable diseases have now become the leading group of causes resulting in death in South Africa accounting for over 40% of total deaths in 2012; a similar profile with the Western Cape. Six of the top 10 single causes of death for the province were non-communicable diseases; these are ischaemic heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and renal disease.

Furthermore the study showed  that interpersonal violence (homicide) was the fourth-highest cause of death accounting for 4.9 % of deaths in 2012 and that more than half of the deaths in young adults (15-29 year old) were due to injury-related causes.  The study also highlights the top 10 single causes of years of life lost (YLL) due to premature death for South Africans by province and reveals that interpersonal violence ranks second in the Western Cape. For 2012, the province has 783 000 years of life lost due to premature mortality.

“The loss of young lives is tragic and much of it can be prevented if appropriate action is taken”, says Dr Victoria Pillay-van Wyk, Lead Project Coordinator for the Study.

“In addition to HIV/AIDS and interpersonal violence, attention must be given to promoting healthy lifestyles at community level and management of non-communicable diseases in the health care services”, says the SAMRC’s Burden of Disease Unit Director Professor Debbie Bradshaw.  

Release date: 
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 08:08
Dr Alfred Thutloa
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