The leading underlying natural causes of death among South Africans in 2015 were tuberculosis and diabetes, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday. Tuberculosis was responsible for 8.3% of deaths among males, while among women diabetes was the leading underlying natural cause of death responsible for 7.1% of their deaths, StatsSA said in a statement. The institution analysed 10 leading underlying natural causes of death, and results showed that six of the top ten causes were non-communicable diseases; while the other four were communicable diseases. Tuberculosis was the leading underlying natural cause of death in 2015, accounting for 7.2% of deaths. It was followed by diabetes which accounted for 5.4% of the deaths. “Although tuberculosis has maintained its position as the number one leading underlying natural cause of death, the proportions over time have been declining, whilst proportions for diabetes mellitus, hypertensive diseases, other viral diseases and chronic lower respiratory diseases have been increasing,” it said. Notably, influenza and pneumonia moved from second place in 2013 to sixth in 2015, while diabetes climbed from fifth position in 2013 to second position in 2015, it said. The rise in non-communicable diseases was notable in males and females aged 65 and above. According to data collected, non-communicable diseases accounted for 62.5% of the top 10 leading causes of death among females aged 65 and above, whereas among males in the same age group the diseases constituted 48.0%. There were 460 236 deaths in 2015, with the highest number of deaths recorded among those aged 60-64 years at 7.8%. The lowest number of deaths was among those aged 5-9 and 10-14 years. There were also more male deaths than female deaths in the same year, from infancy until age 65-69, after which there were more female deaths than male deaths, the statement read.
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