Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

If you are in KwaZulu-Natal you are more likely, statistically, to die of heart-related conditions‚ but cancer is more likely to kill you if you live in Cape Town.

Discovery Life has just released a breakdown of its 2016 life cover claims for death or disability, noting that certain diseases were more prevalent in certain provinces, but gave no reasons why.

Discovery Life found people in Cape Town were 44% more likely to claim disability cover for cancer while fighting the disease than residents in other provinces. The main cause of death for Discovery clients in Cape Town was cancer‚ at 22% higher than the national average.

People in Gauteng were more likely to die of conditions affecting the nervous system such as Alzheimer’s‚ Parkinson’s‚ stroke‚ multiple sclerosis‚ and motor neuron disease.

According to Discovery Life statistics‚ if you live in inland provinces — such as Mpumalanga‚ Limpopo‚ Free State and the Northern Cape — you are marginally more likely to die an unnatural death, with crime and traffic accidents the leading causes.

In KwaZulu-Natal heart disease was the biggest killer at 17% higher than the national average of Discovery Life clients.

The Human Sciences Research Council notes that Indian people are more likely to die of heart disease than any other ethnic group in SA. This could explain KwaZulu-Natal’s higher rates of heart disease. There are also high levels of diabetes among Indian people in SA‚ which increases the risk of heart attacks.

It is a global reality that Indians and people of South Asian descent are more at risk of heart disease than other ethnicities‚ due to dietary and genetic conditions. In Gauteng‚ heart-related conditions were the lowest in the country — 21% lower than average.

Men, overall, were more likely to die of heart and artery conditions and unnatural deaths. Women across the country were more likely to die from cancer and heart and artery conditions. More than half of unnatural deaths for people under 30 were traffic accidents.

The youngest male whose family claimed life cover was 24 years old and died from a fall. The youngest female who died and had cover was 28 and died in a car accident.

"More than one in five death claims were due to unnatural causes that can affect clients regardless of their age or underlying health; 42% of these deaths were as a result of motor vehicle accidents. This highlights the need for life cover‚ irrespective of health or age‚" the company said in a media release.

Discovery said Vitality members with gold and diamond status, who score very high vitality points, were 61% less likely to claim for death or disability than clients who didn’t have high Vitality points, saying these points earners usually exercise often and have a healthy weight.

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