Cause of death: Heart disease ranks as the biggest killer in the region

CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart disease ranks as the biggest killer in the Cowra, Forbes and Parkes local government areas, new data shows. Photo: FILE
CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart disease ranks as the biggest killer in the Cowra, Forbes and Parkes local government areas, new data shows. Photo: FILE

HEART disease remains the biggest killer in the region with the latest figures showing it's responsible for at least 12 per cent of deaths.

The rates of death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, or lung disease) and stroke are also running higher in Cowra, Forbes and Parkes than the national average.

To compare causes of death by local government area and across the nation, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) had the grim task of counting 790,538 deaths from 2014-18.

The data shows that over the five-year period, more than 12 per cent of all deaths in these LGAs could be traced back to heart disease.

In the Cowra local government area, 13.2 per cent (109 people) of all deaths were from heart disease, compared to the national rate of 12.1.

Heart disease accounted for 12.6 per cent (61 people) of all deaths in the Forbes LGA and 12.3 per cent (93 people) in Parkes.

Heart disease is the biggest killer in Australia and can be brought on by poor lifestyle choices.

Western NSW Local Health District spokeswoman

Rounding out the rest of the top four causes of death in these LGAs were lung disease, stroke and dementia (including Alzheimer's disease).

During the five-year period dementia (including Alzheimer's disease) killed 164 people, and accounted for 9.6 per cent of deaths in Parkes, 7.1 per cent in Cowra and 6.7 per cent in Forbes.

Strokes killed 154 people with the highest rate in Forbes at 8.8 per cent of deaths, followed by 7.1 per cent in Parkes and 6.9 per cent in Cowra.

While 138 died from lung disease, with 7.9 per cent of people in Cowra dying of the condition, 6.2 per cent in Forbes and 5.7 in Parkes.

Further down the AIHW's list of top 20 causes of death for each LGA, it reveals the rate of death from diabetes in Cowra (4.0 per cent) and Parkes (3.5 per cent) was higher than the national rate of 3.0 per cent.

In Forbes, the rate was lower at 2.1 per cent of deaths.

A Western NSW Local Health District spokeswoman said it was never too early or late to manage your risk of heart disease and improve your heart health.

"Heart disease is the biggest killer in Australia and can be brought on by poor lifestyle choices such as: smoking; being above a healthy weight and/or making too many unhealthy food and drink choices; risky alcohol consumption; and not getting enough exercise," she said.

"Diabetes, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease, particularly if these medical problems are not treated," she said.

"Some risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, these include: age, gender, ethnicity and family history.

Visit the Heart Foundation for more information.

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This story Broken hearts: Coronary disease the leading cause of death in region first appeared on Cowra Guardian.