27/03/2018 14:35 BST | Updated 27/03/2018 14:35 BST

Diabetes Second Biggest Killer Behind TB In South Africa

This according to a report by Statistics South Africa on mortality and causes of death for 2016.

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Testing a pregnant woman's blood glucose for diabetes using a glucose meter.

Diabetes mellitus became the second most common natural cause of death in South Africa for 2016.

Tuberculosis remained the leading cause of death in the three-year period from 2014 to 2016, although the proportion of deaths owing to the disease declined in the same period from 8.3 percent to 6.5 percent.

This according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), which on Tuesday released its report on mortality and causes of death in South Africa for 2016. Its information was based on administrative records from death notification forms accumulated from the department of home affairs.

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"Diabetes mellitus, which ranked third in 2014 accounting for 5.1 percent of deaths, moved to being the second most common natural cause of death and maintained the same position in 2016, being responsible for 5.5 percent of deaths," the report noted.

Tuberculosis accounted for 29,513 deaths in 2016 while 25,255 people died from diabetes.

Diseases of the circulatory system were the most common underlying cause of death in 2016, comprising 18.5 percent.

"This group has overtaken certain infectious and parasitic diseases in 2016... Diseases of the respiratory system and neoplasm were the third and fourth most common main group of underlying causes responsible for 9.4 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively."

Stats SA identified other trends:

  • A general observation is that age groups 30–34 years to 75–79 years each represented more than 6 percent of all deaths.
  • From 2006 to 2016, the proportions of male deaths increased consistently while a downward trend was observed among female deaths. During this period, the proportion of male deaths increased from 50.7 percent in 2006 to 52.7 percent in 2016. Female deaths decreased steadily from 49.3 percent in 2006 and reached 47.3 percent in 2016.
  • The magnitude of the gap between male and female deaths widened from a 1.4 percentage points excess male deaths in 2006 to a 5.4 percentage points excess male deaths in 2016.