Throughout history, various diseases, influenzas, and wars have plagued the world. The Black Plagued decimated 14th century Europe with an estimated 75 million deaths. Small Pox, along with gunfire, wiped out an entire North American ethnic group. The Spanish Influenza claimed about 50 million lives around the world between the years of 1918-1920. About 50 million people, both military and civilian alike, were killed in World War II. And even though Tuberculosis is no longer in the top 10 causes of death around the world, it was still the main cause behind the deaths of 1.3 million people in 2012.
Although the world has suffered through many fatalities, there are 10 leading causes of death that plague the world in a whole new way. They don’t attack in waves, aren’t really caused by just touching other people, and cause many to lose their loved ones. The order of the top 10 causes of death in a country, vary according to the country and the income class that you are researching, but around the world these are the top 10 leading causes of death for about 55% of the world’s population.
8 Prematurity: 1.2 Million Deaths
Prematurity has claimed the title of 10th top causes of death around the world and is the leading cause behind 1.2 million deaths. If a child is born before 35 weeks, it is considered premature and the baby is usually kept in the hospital’s intensive care unit. If a woman goes into labor before 37 weeks it is called preterm labor, and “late preterm” babies are born between 34-37 weeks, they are still handled carefully. Babies that do not look premature and are not put into intensive care, are still at risk for more problems than the full-term babies. Premature babies tend to have trouble breathing, feeding, and are more at risk of catching an infection.
If the mother has certain health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, these may contribute to preterm labor. 15% of all premature births are multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.). Other factors that contribute to preterm labor include: a weakened cervix, birth defects in the uterus, history of preterm labor, infections (urinary tract, amniotic membrane, etc.), poor nutrition during pregnancy, high blood pressure, age (girls under 16, and woman older than 35), smoking, taking drugs, and being underweight all contribute to premature births.
November 17th is World Prematurity Day where countries raise awareness for prenatal care, and to honor preterm babies and their families. An average of 15 million babies were born prematurely in 2013, with an 8% of those infants dying. March of Dimes is the leading American organization in raising awareness for premature births.
9. Road Injury: 1.3 Million Deaths
Road injury is the leading cause of death for 1.3 million people. Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15-29 years. About 91% of the world’s road fatalities occur in low-income and middle-income countries, even though these countries only have about half of the world’s vehicles. Approximately half of road related deaths are “vulnerable road users”: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Only 28 countries (7% of the world’s population), have adequate laws that address all 5 risk factors of road/vehicle deaths: speed, drunk-driving, helmets, seat belts, child restraints.
Distracted driving has also become a huge issue when it comes to road related injuries. It has in fact become the leading cause behind road related deaths. In the first 7 weeks of 2012, 9 people died on the road in Canada because of distractions such as texting while driving.
Russia, China, and India have the highest road related injury and deaths around the world. This has become such a big issue in Russia, cars actually have a Dash-Cam in order to tell whose fault an accident was.
7 HIV/AIDS: 1.63 Million Deaths
35.6 million people are living in the world with HIV, with an estimated 2.3 million newly affected. On top of that 1.63 million died from AIDS-related illnesses. 33% reduction since 2001 of newly affected people with HIV, while AIDS continues to severely impact countries like China and Africa.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus infects cells of the immune system, destroying or severely impairing their function. HIV Is transmitted through unprotected sex, (vaginal, anal, oral), with an infected person. It is also transmitted through the transfusion of contaminated blood. Basically it is past with the introduction of human bodily fluids, including milk from a mother.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, which applies to the most advanced stage of HIV. AIDS isn’t the direct cause of death, but because of how it greatly impacts the immune system, the smallest cold can cause death.
World AIDS Day, December 1, has become an incredibly important day throughout the world.
6 Diarrheal Diseases: 1.9 Million Deaths
Affects Africa (average of 130.3 per 1000,000 people), and India (132.7 per 100,000 people) the most and affects the greatest number of children under the age of 5. It is treatable and preventable, but many people who have it don’t know, or can’t afford the treatment. It is caused by the lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene.
It kills about 760,000 children under the age of 5 and affects 1.7 billion people globally. In total, it was the cause of 1.9 million deaths in 2013, between children and adults.
5 Lung Cancer: 2 Million Deaths
A leading cause of death of people around the world, lung cancer is caused by multiple factors. It is the second most common cancer in the world after breast cancer. More than 8-10 cases of lung cancer are in people aged 60 or older, and the occurrence of lung cancer in Scotland is one of the highest. The lowest lung cancer rates are in Middle African countries.
Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates, as two-thirds of patients are diagnosed in too late of a stage when curative treatment is not possible. Around 30% of diagnosed people survive at least one year after diagnosis, and more than three/quarters of people who die from this cancer are 65 or over. Around 2 million people died worldwide in 2013.
The link between tobacco and cancer was established over 50 years ago, and smoking causes more than 4 in 5 lung cancers in the UK. Smoking, secondhand smoking, occupational exposures (such as asbestos), exposure to radon when you are a smoker increases your chances, and diesel exhaust. Poor diet is also a contributing factor.
4 COPD: 3.4 Million Deaths
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a long-term lung disease often caused by smoking. It is a life-threatening lung disease that interferes with normal breathing and an estimated 70 million people have COPD worldwide. Approximately 3.4 million people died this past year because of this serious lung blockage, and total deaths are expected to increase 30% over the next 10 years.
COPD is a lung disease that is characterized by the persistent blockage of airflow from the lungs. It is not fully reversible if treated, and chronic bronchitis and emphysema are now included with COPD.
Symptoms include: shortness of breath, a mix of saliva and mucus in the airway (abnormal sputum), and chronic coughing. It is not curable, but can be helped with various forms of treatment. Certain medicines that help dilate the airways are often used to help people have an easier time.
3 Lower Respiratory Infections: 3.4 Million Deaths
These infections include pneumonia, lung abscesses, and acute bronchitis. They are the leading causes of 3.4 million deaths around the world, which occurred mainly in children. Influenza also falls under this category.
Bronchitis can be acute or chronic, as well as bacterial or viral. It affects over 40 per 1000 adults each year, and consists of extreme inflammation of the major bronchi and trachea. Pneumonia occurs in a variety of situations and treatment can vary as well. It is most often caused by bacteria and is extremely dangerous with a mortality rate of 25%. Both of them can usually be cured with antibiotics, but they are very dangerous for elderly and those with immune deficiencies such as those with AIDS.
3. Diabetes: 3.5 Million Deaths
About 347 people in the world suffer from diabetes and 3.5 million people died in 2013. Diabetes in Africa is especially problematic as a large portion of the population has diabetes, but 80% of those go undiagnosed. There are a few different types of diabetes:
Type 1: body’s failure to produce sufficient amounts of insulin. Approximately 15% with diabetes has Type 1 and always need insulin treatments.
Type 2: body’s resistance to insulin, often caused by normal or increases levels of circulating insulin. 85% have this type of diabetes and usually presents itself in people 30 years or older, but can show up earlier.
Gestational Diabetes: pregnant women who have never had diabetes before, but have high blood glucose levels during pregnancy are said to have this type. It can become Type 2 diabetes and affects about 4% of pregnant women.
2 Cerebrovascular Diseases: 6.2 Million Deaths
Stroke caused the death of 6.2 million people and tends to be higher in African-Americans. It is caused by the rapid loss of brain function due to a disturbance in the blood supply. This can be caused by lack of blood flow because of a blockage, or a hemorrhage. As a result the affected area of the brain cannot function, which can cause many serious problems later, such as lack of limb movement, or an inability to see.
A stroke is a medical emergency that can end with permanent neurological damage or death. Risk factors include old age, high blood pressure, previous history with strokes, diabetes, tobacco smoking, high cholesterol, and atrial fibrillation. It is the second most common and leading cause of death around the world.
About 87% of all strokes are caused by ischemia (hemorrhagic transformation). A hemorrhage is the accumulation of blood anywhere within the skull, and can be inside the brain or outside. It is unclear how many hemorrhages cause a stroke.
1 Ischaemic Heart Disease: 7 Million Deaths
IHD is the main contributing factor behind 7 million deaths around the world. Ischemia is when blood that normally flows to a part of the brain is temporarily restricted. When this happens to the heart it is called Cardiac Ischemia. The sudden restriction of blood going to the heart causes chest pain, or angina, which is actually a warning sign that something bad is about to happen. However, sometimes angina does not happen; this is called a silent heart attack. It is also very easy to mistake some lesser symptoms for heartburn and continue on with the day. About 25% of heart attacks are silent which is often why so many people die. People beyond the age of 60 are most affected, and much like the stroke, if you have history with having heart attacks, you are most likely to get them again.