Age-standardised mortality rates for selected broad disease groups, 1911-2003, England & Wales
Circulatory diseases (which include heart disease and stroke) have remained the most common cause of death in England and Wales over the last 90 years among both males and females, with the exception of 1918 to 1919. The chart presents the four disease groups which have each at some time during the last 90 years been among the three disease groups with the highest mortality rates.
Male death rates from circulatory disease are higher than those for females: 300 per 100,000 males and 190 per 100,000 females in 2003. Within these, death rates from heart disease were higher than stroke among both males and females.
Cancers are now the second most common cause of death among males and females. Female cancer mortality rates decreased during the 1940s and 1950s, then rose to a peak in the late 1980s, declining again during the 1990s. Among males the pattern was different. Rates increased substantially to the late 1970s and then declined more rapidly from the 1990s.
Death rates for infectious and respiratory diseases declined in the first half of the 20th Century, although the 1918-19 influenza pandemic claimed the lives of 152,000 people in England and Wales alone and 20 to 50 million people worldwide. In the last 50 years death rates from circulatory diseases decreased more rapidly.
Mortality rates by cause of death vary with age and sex. In 2003, for young people aged 15 to 29, mortality rates were highest for injury and poisoning (40 per 100,000 population for men and 10 per 100,000 for women).
In adults aged 30 to 44, the major cause of death differed for men and women. Injury and poisoning was the leading cause of death for men (43 per 100,000 population) and cancers the leading cause of death for women (30 per 100,000 population).
For those aged 45 to 64, cancers were the leading cause of death among both men and women, with mortality rates of 240 per 100,000 for men and 213 per 100,000 for women. Injury mortality rates among men aged 45 to 64 were lower than for those aged 15 to 29 and 30 to 44.
In older people aged 65 to 84, circulatory diseases were the leading cause of death, for both men and women, although rates for all the causes shown in the table were higher than those at younger ages. The highest mortality rates were in people aged 85 and over, with circulatory diseases having the highest rates followed by respiratory diseases and cancers.
Published on 17 January 2006 at 9:30 am