Less risk of dying from cardiovascular disease

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The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease in Norway has been more than halved in 20 years. For cancer, risk has been reduced by around 16%.


The mortality rate of cardiovascular disease has decreased from 515 to 245 per 100,000 Norwegians between 2000 and 2016, while cancer decreased from 288 to 242.

However, death from those two causes still dominate the major diseases of the country. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, and dementia, lead the figures show new 2016 numbers from the National Institute of Public Health.

‘There are several reasons for this, both that we have become better at avoiding risk factors such as smoking, and that treatment has improved for many diseases. What matters most will be different from illness to illness’, said Christian Lycke Ellingsen, Chief of Health, of the Cause of Death section of the National Institute of Public Health.

Lower mortality

We are getting more Norwegian citizens, yet the number of deaths in the Norwegian population has decreased in the past five years, from 41,346 in 2011 to 40,609 in 2016.

‘In relation to the population, we now have fewer deaths per year than before. This means that the average citizen is getting older’, said the senior doctor.

Life expectancy has never been higher in Norway than now.

‘A boy born in Norway in 2016 can, on average, expect to live until he is 80.6 years, while a girl can expect to live for 84.2 years,’ said Lycke Ellingsen.

Five years ago, the figures were 79.0 and 83.5, respectively.

On a country-wide basis, cardiovascular disease and cancer take approximately as many lives a year, around 11,000. This corresponds to just under 28% of the deaths for each of these two disease groups, totalling approximately 56%.

Cancer takes most years of life
‘On the other hand, those who die of cancer, on average, are younger, 74 years, than those who die from heart disease, 83 years. One can say that cancer takes more years of life from the population than heart disease’, said the senior doctor.

The mortality rate of dementia is still increasing, and now accounts for approximately
9% of deaths.

‘This is mainly due to the fact that more and more people grow old enough to develop a disease of dementia, and that the doctors appear to have been better at reporting
dementia as a diagnosis on the death report,’ explained Christian Lycke Ellingsen.

Furthermore, the percentage of diseases such as colon cancer, and pneumonia have been fairly constant at around 10% in recent years, while more than 6% die from injuries, and poisoning.

NTB Scanpix / Norway Today