Top 10 deadliest diseases

The news is full of stories about Ebola and breast cancer.

But are they the deadliest diseases in the world?

Surprisingly, some of them, including the world’s number 1 killer disease, are at least partially preventable.

Preventive care and the quality of health care have an impact.

Here is the list of the ten deadliest diseases that hasn’t changed much in the last decade.

1. Ischemic heart disease

The deadliest disease in the world is ischemic heart disease. It occurs as a result of narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. The World Health Organization estimates that about 7.4 million people died of ischemic heart disease in 2012. This is about 13.2% of all deaths.

In the United States, about 600,000 people die from cardiovascular disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This makes it the deadliest disease in the US.

Among the risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Regular exercise, proper nutrition and weight control can help reduce your risk of developing the disease.

2. Stroke

A stroke occurs when an artery in the brain is blocked or a hemorrhage occurs. Deprived of oxygen, brain cells die within minutes.

Stroke was responsible for 6.7 million deaths worldwide in 2012, according to the WHO. This number represents about 11.9% of all deaths. The numbers show that nearly 130,000 people in the US die from a stroke each year – that’s one person every four minutes. One in four strokes occurs in people who have had a stroke before.

Risk factors for stroke are similar to those for ischemic heart disease. In general, good health habits can reduce the risks.

3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive disease of the lungs that causes difficulty breathing. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are types of the disease.

About 3.1 million deaths were attributed to this disease in 2012, according to the WHO. This accounts for about 5.6% of deaths worldwide. In 2004, about 64 million people worldwide were diagnosed with this disease.

The main reason for its occurrence is smoking – both active and passive. Another factor is air pollution. The disease affects men and women roughly equally. The development of the disease can be slowed down with medication.

There is a large difference in the number of cases in different countries. In 2011, about 4 percent of people in Minnesota and Washington had the disease. In Alabama and Kentucky, the number was more than 9%.

4. Respiratory infections of the lower respiratory tract

WHO estimates that in 2012 complications from respiratory diseases of the lower respiratory tract were the cause of about 3.1 million deaths, or 5.5% from everyone. This group of diseases includes pneumonia and bronchitis.

Flu season runs from December to February in the Northern Hemisphere and from June to August in the Southern Hemisphere. The risk is year-round in tropical areas.

About 20 percent of tourists returning to the US seek medical attention for a respiratory infection after travel.

5. Cancer of the respiratory organs

Cancer of the trachea, bronchi and lungs is among the deadliest diseases worldwide. The main causes of this type of cancer are smoking, also passive smoking, as well as toxins in the environment.

WHO estimates that in 2012, 1.6 million people died from cancer of the trachea, bronchi and lungs. These cancers account for about 2.9% of all deaths worldwide.


HIV is short for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that attacks the immune system. HIV can cause AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition.

According to the AIDS Research Foundation, since the start of the pandemic, almost 39 million people have died as a result of HIV/AIDS. In 2013, about 1.5 million people lost their lives to AIDS. This is about 2.7 percent of deaths worldwide.

By the end of 2012, 35.3 million people worldwide were infected with the AIDS virus. Every day about 5,700 more become infected.

The number of cases varies dramatically by geographic location. HIV is spreading in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly one in 20 adults is infected with the virus. This area is home to 70 percent of all people who have HIV, including 91 percent of the world’s HIV-positive children.

7. Diarrhea

We talk about diarrhea when it comes to three or more loose stools per day. When diarrhea lasts more than a few days, your body is losing too much water and salt.

Death is due to dehydration. Diarrhea is usually caused by an intestinal infection transmitted by viruses, bacteria, parasites. This type of infection can easily spread through contaminated water or food.

Mortality from diarrhea is particularly prevalent in developing countries that have poor sanitation.

WHO estimates that 1.5 million people died from diarrheal diseases in 2012, accounting for about 2.7% of deaths. Fortunately, that’s down from the 2.2 million detected in 2000.

Diarrheal diseases are the second leading killer of children under the age of five. Tragically, around 760,000 children die from diarrheal diseases every year.

According to a 2009 UNICEF report, each year there are about 2.5 billion cases of diarrhea associated with children under the age of five. More than 50 percent occur in Africa and South Asia.

Regular hand washing can reduce the incidence of diarrheal diseases by 40 percent. Important factors are improved sanitation and water quality.

8. Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect the production and use of insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. The cause is unknown.

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or not efficiently enough. Type 2 diabetes can be triggered by a number of factors, including poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and being overweight.

In 2012, about 1.5 million people died from diabetes-related causes, according to the WHO. It is believed that in low-income countries, more people die from complications due to diabetes.

9. Complications of preterm birth

According to the WHO, in 2012, 1.1 million deaths were due to premature pregnancy and complications caused by premature birth . Three-quarters of these deaths occur within the first week of a baby’s life. The lack of qualified medical care makes this problem huge in developing countries.

10. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a lung condition caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The disease is caught by the airborne route, but is often treated successfully. Some TB strains are resistant to conventional therapies.

In 2012, about 900,000 people died as a result of tuberculosis, reports the World Health Organization. The majority of deaths are in poorer countries. Tuberculosis is among the most common causes of death in people who have HIV.

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