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Sunday 24th June 2018

Cancer, heart and diseases kill most

28th October 2008

Most people in the world die of heart problems, infectious diseases or cancer, according a UN report into the global burden of disease.

heart surgery

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the top three killers had remained unchanged since the last survey.

Heart problems, especially among women, claim 29% of people who die each year, the WHO said, adding that infectious diseases lead to 16.2% of worldwide deaths annually.

The 146-page report, which is based on death registration data from 112 countries and estimates where reporting is incomplete, said the third biggest killer was cancer, which claims around 12.6% of global deaths annually.

The rankings have changed little since WHO's first global check in 1990.

During that year, some 58.8 million people died worldwide in 2004, most of them over 60. Nearly one in five deaths was a child under 5.

Colin Mathers, a WHO expert and lead author of the report said that based on 2002 figures, the heart disease death rate was virtually unchanged from WHO's previous study on death causes.

Meanwhile, infectious diseases appeared to peak in 2002, with the rate dropping from that year.

Last year, they caused 19.1% of the world's deaths, partly because estimates for AIDS deaths were revised downward last year.

Women, who live longer, are more likely to have reached old age, although they die more often from heart disease than men.

The percentage for females is higher, at around 31.5%, while only 26.8% of men die of heart disease.

The percentage for women is higher because there were more women still alive at more advanced ages than men.

But men in many parts of the world have a higher risk, with problems of overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity and diets high in fat and salt.

Heart expert Nieca Goldberg, an American Heart Association spokeswoman who was not linked to the WHO report, said women's symptoms were more subtle than men's so they are not recognised and the women don't seek medical attention as soon as they should.

She said doctors had often failed to evaluate risk factors in women as aggressively as they should, as cardiovascular disease was considered a man's disease for a very long time.

Higher rates of women in deaths from heart diseases have been observed since 1984 in the United States.

Other top causes of death were respiratory infections including pneumonia in fourth place, 7.2%; respiratory diseases, including asthma and allergies, 6.9%; accidental injuries and drownings, 6.6%. 


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Usman Shoaga

Wednesday 6th May 2009 @ 22:25

sorry but I've been worried about something lately, the word "someone dying of old age". In third world countries, people usually die in their homes without serious surgeries etc or show signs of pain. I still find it hard to believe that someone could die without any possible disease cause at old age. It's hard to tell a person's age in third world countries unlike here or hear many cases of cancer. I still believe cancer etc kill people based on the environment they live in and things they are exposed to.

Nice article thanks

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