Big three killers falling but still claim most Scots lives
THE death rate in Scotland is at its second-lowest total since records began in 1855, it emerged yesterday.
A total of 53,967 deaths were registered in 2010 which was 0.2 per cent higher than the previous year.
More than half of all deaths were due to the "three big killers" - cancer, coronary heart disease and strokes.
In 2010 there were 15,323 deaths from cancer (28 per cent), 8,138 from coronary heart disease (15 per cent) and 4,764 from strokes (9 per cent).
However, since 1980 the total number of deaths from these causes has reduced, falling from 65 per cent of all deaths during 1980-82 to 52 per cent in 2010.
While coronary heart disease accounted for 29 per cent of deaths in 1980-82 this went down to 15 per cent in 2010. Strokes fell by 14 per cent to 9 per cent over the same timescale.
But the number of deaths from cancer has increased, rising from 22 per cent in 1980 to 28 per cent last year.
Carolan Davidge, director of communications for Cancer Research UK, said: "While the number of people in Scotland dying from cancer has gone up over the last 30 years, the risk of dying of cancer has fallen thanks to improvements in diagnosing and treating the disease."
The statistics also show other major causes of death.
These include respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia, which claimed 6,896 lives, (13 per cent of all deaths); diseases of the circulatory system which were responsible for 3,615 deaths (7 per cent), and mental and behavioural disorders (for example due to alcohol and drugs) which cost 3,459 lives (6 per cent of deaths).
Death rates for stillbirths and infant deaths have both improved significantly.
Stillbirths dropped from 13.1 for every 1,000 births in 1971 to 4.9 per cent in 2010. The infant death rate fell from 19.9 for every 1,000 live births in 1971 to 3.7 in 2010.
The expectation of life at birth in Scotland has improved greatly over the last 25 years or so, increasing from 69.1 years for men and 75.3 for women born around 1981 to 75.8 years and 80.3 years respectively for those born around 2009.
However, Scottish men and women still have a relatively low expectation of longevity at birth compared with much of the rest of the European Union.
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