• Deaths among women due to diabetes hit 15,506 in 2016, Statistics South Africa said this week.
  • That is compared to 11,423 women who died from "non-natural causes".
  • Accidents and violence still kill more men than their top disease killers: TB and HIV. 


In 2016 women in South Africa were 36% more likely to die from diabetes than from the combination of car accidents, violent crime, suicide, and all other "non-natural" causes, numbers released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday shows.

Diabetes was identified as the underlying cause of death for a record 15,506 women in 2016, Stats SA said.

A total of 11,423 women were found to have died from "non-natural" causes, mostly from accidents, crime, and suicide.

The number of non-natural deaths for women declined slightly between 2015 and 2016, but diabetes deaths have been steadily increasing for years, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of total deaths.

See also: These are now the top natural killers in South Africa

Diabetes is far and away the leading killer of women in South Africa now, responsible for 16% more deaths than the number two cause, cerebrovascular diseases – and 46% more deaths than HIV.

The numbers are vastly different for men, who are much more likely to die from non-natural causes than from disease.

In 2016 there were 3.5 non-natural deaths among men for every non-natural death for women. The number of non-natural deaths among men were almost the same as the three leading natural causes for death put together: tuberculosis, HIV, and a grab-bag of heart diseases excluding the most common, such as high blood pressure.

Nearly 60% more women than men died of diabetes in 2016.

This is how the leading causes of death differed for men and women:

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