What are the deadliest diseases out there? We go over the 10 leading causes of death in the world from 2016, according to information compiled by the World Health Organization, based on available epidemiological data.
Circulatory (mainly heart attacks and ischemic cardiopathy) and respiratory conditions such as COPD, stand out on the list of diseases and circumstances that lead to the most deaths in 2016.
While traffic accidents continue to top the list of causes of death all over the world -without technically being a deadly disease-, the diseases that provoke the most deaths continue to be chronic ones.
The concepts 'coronary heart disease' and 'ischemic cardiopathy,' refer to a group of heart-related ailments caused by a reduction of blood flow to the arteries -and consequentially the amount of oxygen that the myocardium receives, in other words, the heart muscle.
Generally speaking, atherosclerosis causes coronary disease, a circulatory disorder caused by a buildup of fats on the artery walls, which provokes inflammation and hardening which makes them narrower.
An infarct refers to the death of one of the body’s tissues due to reduced blood flow (and the levels of oxygen in the bloodstream). Infarcts are related to atherosclerosis, ischemic cardiopathy, as well as tumors and hernias, and other risk factors. The most common infarcts are those that occur in the heart, known as 'myocardial infarctions' or 'heart attacks,' as well as those that occur in the brain, kidneys, or intestine.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is commonly known as 'COPD,' consists of chronic lung inflammation, also associated with the blockage the lungs’ air passages – that worsens progressively (this can be fatal) and causes symptoms such as a lack of air and a productive cough.
The most common cause of COPD is smoking tobacco, and therefore it is most commonly diagnosed in smokers. Therefore, quitting smoking is essential if you want to slow down the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Lower respiratory tract infections are some of the most common infections in the world, besides being the biggest killers. Pneumonia and COPD, which we mentioned before, are two of the leading causes of death by lower respiratory tract infection.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but vascular dementia and multi-infarct dementia are also common causes of death across the globe. These types of dementia often go hand in hand with Alzheimer’s disease. Also, dementia with Lewy bodies is another variety that is a consequence of Parkinson’s disease, and many other types exist as well.
Lung, trachea, and bronchial cancers are among the deadliest respiratory diseases out there, along with COPD and upper respiratory tract infections. Of course, tobacco consumption is one of the main risk factors when it comes to developing this kind of cancer.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common diseases in wealthy countries. Diabetes’ main trait is reduced insulin production, the hormone produced by the pancreas - this keeps glucose from metabolizing properly and causes it to accumulate in the bloodstream, which can have negative consequences for the body.
Traffic accidents are some of the main causes of death in the world, and they even appear on the WHO’s list of leading causes of death in the world. Accidents are a public health problem in many countries, especially among young people (that are at a lower risk of dying of chronic diseases, for example).
Even though these conditions are uncommon in wealthy countries, diarrheal diseases are mortal in populations that suffer from malnutrition and that subsist in environments lacking access to proper hygiene. The severe diarrhea death rate in children under five years of age is worrisome: every year more than 500,000 children of this age die all over the world from this condition.
Tuberculosis is a potentially deadly infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium that commonly affects the lungs, although it can also develop in other parts of the body, making it the last of the leading causes of death on our list.