Western health: The conditions killing us across the western region

FATAL FLAW: The rate of fatal lung disease in the Western Plains is more than 70 per cent higher than the national average. Photo: FILE
FATAL FLAW: The rate of fatal lung disease in the Western Plains is more than 70 per cent higher than the national average. Photo: FILE

THE number of deaths from lung disease across the western region is more than 70 per cent higher than the national mortality rate, new data shows.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s latest data analyses the most common causes of death across Australia from 2012 to 2016, and reveals the top 20 causes by local government area.

For the current Dubbo Regional Council area the report lists the Western Plains Regional Council, which was the name of the local government region at the end of the reporting date. 

The biggest killer of men and women during the five year period around the country was heart disease, this followed by dementia and Alzheimer disease, stroke, lung cancer and lung disease.

Heart disease was also the biggest killer in the former Western Plains Regional local government area, with 238 deaths recorded during the five-year period, the equivalent of 11.7 per cent of all deaths.

The stark difference in the Western Plains, when compared to the national mortality rate, was much higher rates of death by lung disease, heart failure, kidney failure, and diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue.

Lung disease accounted for 6.3 per cent of all deaths with 128 in total, however, this was 71 per cent higher than the national rate.

Heart failure killed 62 people (three per cent of deaths) in the Western Plains. This was 75 per cent higher than the national rate.

Kidney failure killed 52 people (2.5 per cent of the mortality rate) and diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue killed 31 people (1.5 per cent) – both were more than double Australia’s mortality rate.

Land transport accidents during the five-year reporting period may have only killed 29 people (1.4 per cent of all deaths) in the Western Plains, but the rate was more than twice as high as the national mortality rate.

Heart disease rated as the top killer for men in the region, this was followed by lung disease and lung cancer.

For women, heart disease topped the list followed by dementia and Alzheimer disease and stroke.

If you are troubled by this report or experiencing a personal crisis, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or visit www.lifeline.org.au or www.beyondblue.org.au.

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