In 2014, deaths in Italy were 598,670, and the age-standardized death rate from all causes was 85.3 per 10,000 residents. In the period 2003-2014, the death rate decreased by 23%, despite the rise in the number of deaths (+1.7%), due to the aging of the population.
We examined trends of the first 25 leading causes of death, ranked according to the number of deaths.
Both in 2003 and in 2014, the first three causes of death in Italy were ischemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases and other heart diseases (representing 29.5% of overall deaths), although the percentages of mortality for these causes decreased by over 35% in 11 years.
In 2014, the fourth leading cause of death was malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung (accounting for 33,386 deaths).
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were on the rise, and they were the sixth leading cause of death in 2014 (26,600 deaths).
Among the gender specific
cancers, malignant neoplasm of prostate was the tenth leading cause of death among men (7,174 deaths), while malignant neoplasm of breast was the sixth leading cause among women (12,201 deaths) and the most frequent cause among the oncological conditions.
Among causes with an increasing death rate, septicemia (1.3% of total deaths) was the one reporting the highest increase. In 2014 deaths have tripled compared to 2003, possibly due to the growing proportion of elderly with multiple chronic comorbidities in the population.
For many causes of death, the mortality rate decreased in all the geographical areas of the Country.
Geographical variability of mortality reduced for cerebrovascular diseases, other heart diseases, malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung, and chronic lower respiratory diseases.
Persistent differences over time in mortality rates between North and South areas of the Country were observed for ischemic heart diseases, hypertensive diseases and diabetes
mellitus. Geographical variability of mortality rates increased over time for prostate cancer.
Within the first year of life, a reduction of mortality from congenital malformations, respiratory distress of newborn, intrauterine hypoxia and birth asphyxia was observed, while mortality due to infectious diseases increased.
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