At this time of year, many of us are preparing for the festive season by shopping up a storm, designing mouth-watering Christmas lunch menus or making travel plans to see (or not to see) loved ones over the end of year break. I like to use the end of year break to re-evaluate things and take stock of the year that was.

Part of my routine at this end of the year has been to focus on my health and wellbeing, and I thought it would be interesting to look at what the leading causes of death are in this country, as a helpful guide to what preventative steps I can take now, to stay away from the things on the list below.

So first….here is THE LIST of the biggest killers in Australia in 2016

(the 2017 list wasn’t readily available just yet) –

2007 2011 2016
Cause of death no. Rank no. Rank no. Rank Median Age (2016) years
Ischaemic heart diseases 22,956 1 21,526 1 19,077 1 85.1
Dementia, including Alzheimer disease 7,318 4 9,864 3 13,126 2 88.8
Cerebrovascular diseases 11,505 2 11,245 2 10,451 3 86.3
Malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung 7,635 3 8,117 4 8,410 4 74.0
Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5,787 5 6,565 5 8,048 5 81.7
Malignant neoplasm of colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus 4,954 6 5,206 6 5,462 6 77.0
Diabetes 3,818 7 4,211 7 4,770 7 81.8
Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue 3,608 8 3,979 8 4,372 8 77.2
Heart failure and complications and ill-defined heart disease 3,438 9 3,486 9 3,379 9 88.5
Diseases of the urinary system 3,237 10 3,384 10 3,352 10 87.2
Influenza and pneumonia 2,634 13 2,487 13 3,334 11 88.8
Malignant neoplasm of prostate 2,939 11 3,294 11 3,248 12 82.0
Malignant neoplasms of breast 2,709 12 2,938 12 3,004 13 70.5
Malignant neoplasm of pancreas 2,252 14 2,416 14 2,911 14 75.0
Intentional self-harm [suicide] 2,227 15 2,392 15 2,862 15 43.3
Accidental falls 1,337 21 1,872 17 2,666 16 87.2
Cardiac arrhythmias 1,406 20 1,617 19 2,326 17 88.3
Hypertensive diseases 1,640 17 1,805 18 2,228 18 88.1
Melanoma and other malignant neoplasms of skin 1,728 16 2,087 16 1,960 19 77.2
Malignant neoplasm of liver and intrahepatic bile ducts 1,109 26 1,423 23 1,864 20 71.3


Based on this information here are my Top 5 lessons for a healthier 2018.

1 – Cut the saturated fat

With heart and heart related conditions topping the list consistently, it seems pretty clear that simple measures of swapping out the chips, processed meats and margarine from the regular diet and practicing moderation over the holiday could be a real lifesaver (or life prolonger)

2 – Do more puzzles

Dementia and Alzheimer’s make a close 2nd this year and is on the rise! Brain plasticity and activity can play a role in the development of these conditions and so I will be implementing a daily brain workout to go with my yoga classes in the New Year.

3 – Drink more water

My office has been circulating hilarious “drink more water” memes over the last few months as we all do our best to keep adequately hydrated each day. This has been a fun way to remind ourselves to take a few extra sips and improve our skin, hair, energy, concentration, blood pressure….you name it, being properly hydrated helps !!!!

4 – Wash hands thoroughly and regularly

Did anyone else notice there was A LOT of nasty Influenza, colds and other nasty infectious diseases floating around this year? A good friend of mine (former nurse) gloats of his pristine ‘never had gastroenteritis bug ‘ record and associates his success in avoiding this to proper hand washing protocols. So simple, but so often NOT done correctly or for long enough, if at all (eek!).

5 – Be more aware of my mental health (and others)

So aside from the  cancers and conditions commonly associated with the aging process, coming in at number 15/20, but with a concerning median age, at just 43.3, is intentional self harm (suicide). I found this one of the most alarming entries. Lawyers are commonly cited as one of the professions with the highest rates of depression, second only to dentists. Taking time to check in with your own mental health is the first step. The second is to seek help if you are concerned. The third is to have an awareness of the people around you and to be confident in discussing mental health issues with friends, family and colleagues.

Notable entries also go to lung cancer (down this year to place at no. 4, accidental falls (a huge jump up 5 spots from 2007, to place at no. 16) and skin cancer which has dropped down a few places to place at no. 19)

On that note, we wish everyone a safe and prosperous end to 2017. Happy Holidays!!

Turner Freeman Lawyers

Please do not hesitate to contact Turner Freeman Lawyers Team on (07) 3025 9000. Our Queensland offices are in BrisbaneLoganNorth LakesIpswichToowoombaGold CoastSunshine Coast and Cairns.

This blog contains general information and is not to be considered as legal advice specific to your circumstances.