Health facts: 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond
As we get older, different health conditions and diseases can strike during the various stages of life. We look at the major life-threatening health issues that affect Australians today.
Although less than one person in every 1000 dies in their 30si, there are still major health risks. The leading causes of death are intentional self-harm and accidents, such as accidental poisoning or exposure to noxious substances, and injury from transport accidents. This is the same for those in their teens and 20sii. Apart from accidents and injury, coronary heart disease is also a cause of deathi.
Serious health problems become more common as people enter their 40s, with the average rate of death increasing to 1.5 per 1,000 of the standard population in 2012ii. Two common causes are malignant cancers of the digestive system, such as small intestinal and bowel cancersiii; and coronary heart disease, via heart attacks and anginaiv. Intentional self-harm and accidental exposure to noxious substances are also leading causesi.
50s and 60s
Problems with digestive and respiratory organs, such as gastro-intestinal cancer and lung cancer, and coronary heart disease are the leading causes of deathi. The average rate of death rises to 3.3 people per 1,000 standard population for those in their 50s, and to 8.0 people per 1,000 for those in their 60sii. For women, breast cancer becomes one of the leading causes of death in this age bracketi.
Good health tips
You can boost your mental health in a few simple ways.
- Learn new skills or do things that make you feel good, such as spending time with friends or family.
- Help in the community, create new friendships and strengthen your social network.
- If you’re feeling down and out, networks may help you deal with your mental health issues and provide support.
In terms of physical health, you should visit the doctor regularly from the age of 40.
- Checkups give a detailed picture of your ongoing state of health.
- Screening tests and proactive health checks can help in the prevention, detection and early treatment of health problems.
- For women, several health checks can be beneficial in preventing and treating diseases, such as cervical and breast cancers.
- There are health checks for men to detect conditions such as prostate and testicular cancers.
iAustralian Bureau of Statistics 2014, Deaths, Australia, 2013, Death rates, Summary, States and territories-2003 to 2013, cat.no. 3302.0, viewed 9 March 2015,
iiAustralian Bureau of Statistics 2013, Causes of Death, Australia, 2012, Underlying causes of death (Australia), cat.no. 3303.0, viewed 9 March 2015,
iiiGI Cancer Institute 2012, What is Gastro-Intestinal Cancer?, viewed 9 April 2015,
ivAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015, What are cardiovascular diseases?, viewed 9 April 2015,