Cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in Israel, but rates from most
causes are falling as life expectancy rises, concluded a Health Ministry report
released for publication on Tuesday morning.
The statistical report on
the “leading causes of death in Israel” covers the decade from 1999 through 2009
and is based on raw data from the Central Bureau of Statistics.
the 90s, cardiovascular disease used to be the leading cause of death,
prevention and better treatment for heart diseases have made it a less common
cause, allowing cancers to take over. Death rates from strokes, heart disease,
road accidents and respiratory diseases declined by a quarter between 1999 and
2001 – a bit more in men than in women. Death from complications due to diabetes
declined by a tenth during the same period.
But, according to the report,
deaths from pneumonia and other complications of influenza increased between
2007 and 2009 by a third. In addition, Alzheimer’s disease became a more common
cause of death, with its rate rising by a third.
Death rates in Israel –
497 per 100,000 residents – was lower than in the US and most European
countries. The Israeli rates are close to those in Italy (496) and
significantly lower than the US rate of 626.
While cancer is the leading
cause of death not only in Israel but also in the US and most countries in
Europe, heart disease is first in Finland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Germany,
Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic, with cancer the second most common
In Israel, complications due to diabetes are third, followed by
strokes, while in all European countries, stroke comes out on top of diabetes
complications. Kidney disease is rated fifth in Israel as a cause of death.
Other common causes of death are respiratory diseases, accidents, hypertension
and – lower down – suicides.
Murder was the sixth most common cause of
death in men aged 25 to 44, while the fifth cause in this group was
“unintentional poisoning,” possibly connected to taking drugs, the authors
Cancer was the most common cause of death in men and women between
65 and 74 and since 2008, the most common cause in men over 75. Cardiovascular
disease is the most common among women over the age of 75, as heart problems
begin in women at an older age than in men.