MORTALITY data in England and Wales for 2017 has displayed a reduction in age-standardised death rates compared with the previous year. The new release by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also revealed a fall in the number of deaths caused by cancers, respiratory diseases, and circulatory diseases, a trend which has continued for over a decade. However, mortality rates for mental and behavioural disorders as well as diseases of the nervous system were found to have increased.
The publication has highlighted areas where progress has been made in regard to life expectancy and care for certain conditions in addition to fields that can be targeted for improvements.
The age-standardised mortality rate (ASMR) for 2017 had reduced by 0.4% for males and 0.2% for females compared with 2016. In addition, the ONS data showed that the proportion of deaths in the oldest age groups had increased over the last 20 years, particularly for those aged 90 years and older. This is a trend that can be explained by increased life expectancy.
However, the analysis did also outline that ASMRs have decreased at a slower rate in the current decade than the previous one.
Reduced Mortality from Cancer
While cancer has remained the most common cause of death in 2017 (28.1%), as it has since 2011, the ASMR was lower in 2017, a trend which has continued throughout the last decade. Likewise, circulatory diseases, including heart disease and stroke, and respiratory diseases, the second and third leading causes of death, continued their decline over the last decade. This is likely to be in a large part due to improvements in treatments for these kinds of conditions.
Increased Mortality from Mental Disorders
The study did also identify areas where improvements could potentially be made; there has been a more than doubling ASMR for mental and behavioural disorders, such as dementia, over the last decade, and an increase of 3.6% in 2017. Similarly, diseases of the nervous system, including Alzheimer’s disease, have increased by 70.8% from 10 years ago, and by 7.0% in 2017. There are a number of reasons why these increases may have occurred, including the ageing society and a better understanding of such conditions leading to improved identification and diagnosis. Nevertheless, these data emphasise the challenges that such conditions are bringing to the health system.
James Coker, Reporter
For the source and further information about the study, click here.