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The latest statistics are out: South Africans are dying of diabetes

The latest diabetes statistics from Stats SA on mortality and causes of death have shown that South Africans are dying of diabetes. Let’s unpack the details…

Diabetes is the second leading cause of death in South Africa

Diabetes mellitus kept as the second leading underlying cause of death in the three-year period although the proportions of death due to diabetes mellitus increased consistently over the three years.

Stats SA
diabetes statistics second leading cause of death in south africa

Diabetes kills more women in SA than any other condition

Tuberculosis was the leading underlying cause of death for males accounting for 7,2% of male deaths while the leading underlying cause of death amongst females was diabetes mellitus accounting for 7,7% of female deaths.

Stats SA
diabetes statistics leading cause of death in women

Diabetes statistics show increasing numbers of women dying

For females, deaths due to diabetes mellitus have been on a steady increase, accounting for 7,2% and 7,3% in 2016 and 2017 respectively, increasing to 7,7% in 2018.

Stats SA

Diabetes is increasing in men and women

The three diseases which increased and were common among the two sexes were
chronic lower respiratory diseases, ischaemic heart diseases and diabetes mellitus.

There was an increase in the proportion of male deaths due to diabetes mellitus, chronic lower respiratory diseases and cerebrovascular diseases over the three year period.

Stats SA

Diabetes statistics: leading cause of death for 65 and older, second leading cause 45-64

While tuberculosis was the leading cause of death among those aged 45–64, accounting for 7,0% of deaths in this age group, it was the ninth leading cause of death among those aged 65 and older, accounting for 2,4% of deaths. Conversely, diabetes mellitus was the leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older (9,3%) and the second leading cause of death for those aged 45–64 (7,4%).

Stats SA

Diabetes is a problem nationwide: top leading underlying cause of death across SA

Diabetes mellitus, which was the leading underlying cause of death only in the Western Cape, was ranked second in KwaZulu-Natal (7,1%); Limpopo (6,6%) and Gauteng (4,7%) while it ranked third in Eastern Cape (5,8%), Mpumalanga (5,5%) and Free State (5,4%).

It is important to note that just like TB, now diabetes mellitus as well as hypertensive disease are in the top leading underlying causes of death in all districts in South Africa though the ranking and proportions differ between districts.

Stats SA

In summary: latest diabetes statistics

  • The leading underlying natural cause of death amongst females was diabetes
  • Diabetes mellitus was the leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older.
  • Diabetes mellitus was the leading underlying natural cause of death only in the Western
    Cape, but was among the ten leading underlying natural causes for all the other provinces

Download the full Stats SA report

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2 Comments

  1. […] People living with Type 1 diabetes are a largely ignored group. The main emphasis of all diabetes awareness is – rightly – on the 90% of those living with Type 2 diabetes, who are leading the death tolls for South African women in South Africa, according to Stats SA. […]

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.