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Cause of death

German: Todesursache

1 Definition

Causes of death are diseases or injuries that lead to the death of a person (or played a major role in it) or external causes (accident, violence, etc.) that led to a lethal injury. The cause of death is the reason for dying and death.

2 Death certificate

After determination of death the cause of death is documented on the death certificate. Death certificates have to be issued by a physician.

Sometimes the specific disease that led to death is obvious but often, death is caused by a multitude of conditions. Nonetheless, the death certificate contains only a single disease as the primary cause of death.

If no natural cause of death can be determined (unclear or unnatural causes), public persecution will decide on further proceedings. Usually, a forensic pathologist will perform an autopsy.

3 Statistics

The World Health Organization (WHO) monitors the most common causes of death globally.

3.1 Situation in Germany

The most common causes of death in Germany are coronary heard diseases, malignant tumors, stroke and diseases of the respiratory tract as well as diseases of the digestive system. Death caused by accidents and injuries is more common among younger people.

3.2 The most common causes of death (ICD-10)

Globally the most common causes of death are infectious diseases.

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