The conditions killing us in the Shoalhaven

Generic stroke x-ray.
Generic stroke x-ray.

New health data has revealed deaths from strokes were almost 40 per cent higher in the Shoalhaven than the national mortality rate from 2012 to 2016.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released five years’ worth of data, collected from January 2012 to December 2016, that reveals the most common causes of death across Australia.

The recently released data showed heart attacks were the biggest killer of Australian men and women followed by dementia, stroke, lung cancer and lung disease.

Shoalhaven’s stark difference to national statistics lied in its second biggest killer – strokes or cerebrovascular disease. Strokes accounted for 8.9 per cent of deaths in the Shoalhaven with 500 in total, 39 per cent higher than the national rate. 

Lung cancer and lung disease accounted for 6.2 and 5.1 per cent of deaths, both 27 per cent above the national rate. Deaths from heart disease were 6 per cent above the national rate.

Almost 100 more women died of a stroke than men in the region, with women’s rate a staggering 42 per cent above the national rate. Women’s lung cancer and lung disease death rates were 40 and 42 per cent above the national rate.

Despite dementia and Alzheimer’s disease being the fifth top cause for men’s deaths the Shoalhaven was 13 per cent below the country’s average.

The AIHW data showed the median age of Australians who died during the five years was 78 for men and 84 for women.

If you are troubled by this report or experiencing a personal crisis, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit or