Chronic heart disease carries the highest rate of mortality for Albanians, according to statistics from INSTAT.
The disease is caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries around the heart. Key contributors to the condition include an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight, and smoking.
In 2019, the main cause of death in the country was natural causes (94.1%) and within this, chronic heart disease accounted for 29.4%. Other leading causes were cerebrovascular diseases (28.9%) and ischemic heart disease (23.9%).
Cancer accounted for 16.3% of total deaths and had a mortality rate of 125.5 per thousand of the population. Cancer in the digestive system was the most common, followed by respiratory variations of cancer.
Bloodstream diseases, trauma, poisoning, and respiratory diseases all ranked high in terms of the number of deaths.
In 2019, 112 women died from complications of pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal period. A further 81 died of diseases that commonly occur in the period around childbirth.
The report also states that 135 people died of ‘mental illness’ but it does not provide any further information on how a mental disorder could result in loss of life.
According to the data, women are more likely to die from “symptoms, signs, and diseases not well defined”, whereas men have a higher mortality rate for cancer and tumour-related diseases.
In terms of infant mortality, in 2019 the rate was 10.3 per 1000 live births. The European average is 3.6 per 1000 live births. Concerningly, the mortality rate has increased from 2018 where it was 8.9 per 1000 live births. The main reason for the deaths of children under 1 is ‘complications of pregnancy, birth, and postnatal period’ followed by ‘diseases that occur in the period around birth’.
Exit had previously reached out to the Ministry of Health to enquire about causes of death in infants, in particular, those categorized as “others” but our questions were not answered.