The death rate in Scotland has risen 4% higher than the five-year average last month, new data has revealed.
The provisional figures, revealed by the National Record of Scotland (NRS), showed there were 5,646 deaths in March – an increase of 11% on the previous month.
The number of deaths also amounts to 10% higher than the March five-year-average.
However, when taking into account the size and age structure of the population, the mortality rate was 1,199 per 100,000 people – 4% higher than the average rate for March.
NRS said that calculation based on age-standardised rates gives a “more accurate picture” of excess deaths by removing the impact of the growing and ageing population.
The data shows there were 526 excess deaths in March and people aged 80 and over accounted for 62% of them.
Ischaemic heart disease accounted for 12% of all deaths in March.
For females, the leading cause of death was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (13%) in March, while the leading cause for males was ischaemic heart disease (15%).
Julie Ramsay, vital events statistician at NRS, said: “Deaths increased to higher than average levels during March after being at relatively normal levels during February.
“Our data shows that ischaemic heart disease was found to be the most common cause of all deaths in March.
“It was also the most common cause of death for men, however for women the most common cause was Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.”