Epidemiology is often converted into tables and graphs that are used to provide pictures of trends in disease, illness and disability.
Currently Australia’s life expectancy is on the increase for both males and females, with females having a higher life expectancy than males. This life expectancy placed us at 6th in the world for males and 7th for females.
However, various death rates are on the decline, including those caused by: cardiovascular disease, car accidents, COPD, and cancers. Below is a graph depicting the changes in death rates from some of the leading causes of death in Australia.
Cardiovascular death rates are declining, mostly because of the education about the harmful effects of smoking.
The death rate from road accidents amongst the 15-24 age bracket has also fallen. Various changes to our roads may have helped this, including the 3 year P-plate system and tougher laws on speeding. However, it should be noted that in this age bracket, males make up ¾ of the road deaths.
Australia’s Health 2014
Deaths from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are also falling. This can be linked with the same trend found in cardiovascular disease, as one of the major causes of COPD is smoking.
Australia’s Health in Brief 2014
Finally mortality caused by cancers is on the decline. There are more people being diagnosed, often because of early detection methods such as breast screening and prostate examinations becoming more available and used more frequently. This leads to an increase in diagnosis, but also an increase in survival rates and a decrease in mortality, as seen below.
Australia’s Health in Brief 2014
The major causes of morbidity in Australia include: those that cause death along with musculoskeletal, mental health and sexual health issues. Below is a table of the most common chronic diseases in Australia by age and sex.
This table shows the differences between males and females in terms of the major causes of morbidity. Males and females also differ in their levels of disability caused by these and the number of Years Lived with a Disability (YLD).
The graph on the right shows the differences between males and females across the years. You can see the upwards trend in life expectancy for both, and the increase in life without disability. For males the life with disability is decreasing, while for females it remains fairly constant (most likely due to their greater life expectancy). This is also summarised in the image below.
One of the big concerns in Australia currently is the increase in diabetes. Diabetes is an expensive disease as it requires frequent medication and type II is easily avoidable through regular exercise and a balanced diet.
STI’s are also increasing at the moment. The graph below depicts the increases in the four more commonly known diseases.
These rising rates are for both males and females.
Within the musculoskeletal area of disability and injury, Hip and knee replacements are on the rise. This coincides with our aging population, as frequently these replacements are occurring in older people. This increase in aging is also causing a higher prevalence and incidence of arthritis, hypertension, and osteoporosis.
In addition to the rising rates of self-harm, falls and assaults are also up, while transport numbers are relatively steady.
Tooth decay was decreasing, but has recently risen again. Tooth decay is caused by poor diet, poor dental hygiene routines and the fact that 30% of Australians are scared to go to their dentist.
There is a current rise in obesity occurring across Australia. Obesity is linked with numerous lifestyle diseases, such as: cardiovascular disease, many cancers, hypertension and diabetes.
Australia is also experiencing a rise in kidney disease, which results from alcohol consumption, poor diet, medications, as well as other factors.