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1. Ischemic heart disease, or coronary artery disease
The deadliest disease in the world is coronary artery disease (CAD). Also called ischemic heart disease, CAD occurs when the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart become narrowed. Untreated CAD can lead to chest pain, heart failure, and arrhythmias.
Deaths in 2015 were 8.8 million which is an increase of 15.5% since 2000 when the number of deaths was 6 million.
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for CAD include:
high blood pressure
family history of CAD
Talk to your doctor if you have one or more of these risk factors.
You can prevent CAD with medications and by maintaining good heart health. Some steps you can take to decrease your risk include:
maintaining a healthy weight
eating a balanced diet that’s low in sodium and high in fruits and vegetables
drinking only in moderation
6.2 million in 2015 up 11.1% since 2000 when the mortality rate was 5.7 million.
This just in, the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2019 update from the American Heart Association reveals that:
- 4 million, or 46% of US adults are likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension). These are findings based on the current 2017 Hypertension Clinical Practice Guidelines.
- On average, a person dies of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) every 38 seconds. There are approximately 2,303 deaths from CVD every day, according to 2016 data.
- On average, a person dies resulting from a stroke every 3 minutes & 42 seconds. There are approximately 389 stroke-related deaths every day, according to 2016 data.
A stroke occurs when an artery in your brain is blocked or leaks. This causes the oxygen-deprived brain cells to begin dying within minutes. During a stroke, you feel sudden numbness and confusion or have trouble walking and seeing. If left untreated, a stroke can cause long-term disability.
In fact, strokes are the leading cause of long-term disabilities. People who receive treatment within 3 hours of having a stroke are less likely to have disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source reports that 93 percent of people knew sudden numbness on one side was a stroke symptom. However, only 38 percent knew all the symptoms that would prompt them to seek emergency care.
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for stroke include:
high blood pressure
family history of stroke
smoking, especially when combined with oral contraceptives
Some risk factors of strokes can be reduced with preventative care, medications, and lifestyle changes. In general, good health habits can lower your risk.
Stroke prevention methods may include controlling high blood pressure with medications or surgery. You should also maintain a healthy lifestyle, complete with regular exercise and a healthy diet that’s low in sodium. Avoid smoking, and drink only in moderation, as these activities increase your risk of stroke.
3. Lower respiratory infections
As with lower respiratory infections, the rate of upper respiratory infections and otitis was estimated to be lower in developed countries, at 12% (5—18%). Globally, more than 1.5 million deaths annually from respiratory infections are attributable to the environment
A lower respiratory infection is an infection in your airways and lungs. It can be due to:
influenza, or the flu
Viruses usually cause lower respiratory infections. They can also be caused by bacteria. Coughing is the main symptom of a lower respiratory infection. You may also feel breathlessness, wheezing, and a tight feeling in your chest. Untreated lower respiratory infections can lead to breathing failure and death.
Impact of lower respiratory infections around the world
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for lower respiratory infection include:
Poor air quality or frequent exposure to lung irritants
a weak immune system
crowded childcare settings, which mainly affects infants
One of the best preventative measures you can take against lower respiratory infections is to get the flu shot every year. People at high risk of pneumonia can also get a vaccine. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water to avoid transmitted bacteria, especially before touching your face and before eating. Stay at home and rest until you feel better if you have a respiratory infection, as rest improves healing.
Deaths in 2015 3.1 million have remained the same since 2000
More than 65 million people around the world have moderate or severe COPD, and experts predict that this number will continue to rise worldwide over the next 50 years.
As you can see COPD is on the rise again.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term, progressive lung disease that makes breathing difficult. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are types of COPD. In 2004, about 64 million people around the world are living with COPD.
Impact of COPD around the world
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for COPD include:
smoking or secondhand smoke
Lung irritants like chemical fumes
family history, with the AATD gene being linked to COPD
history of respiratory infections as a child
There’s no cure for COPD, but its progression can be slowed with medication. The best ways to prevent COPD are to stop smoking and to avoid secondhand smoke and other lung irritants. If you experience any COPD symptoms, getting treatment as soon as possible increases your outlook.
5. Trachea, bronchus, and lung cancers
Deaths in 2015 were 1.7 million. Deaths in 2000 1.2 million an increase of 3%
Respiratory cancers include cancers of the trachea, larynx, bronchus, and lungs. The main causes are smoking, secondhand smoke, and environmental toxins. But household pollution such as fuels and mold also contribute.
Impact of respiratory cancers around the world
A 2015 study reports that respiratory cancer accounts for about 4 million deaths annually. In developing countries, researchers project 81- to a 100-percent increase in respiratory cancers due to pollution and smoking. Many Asian countries, especially India, still use coal for cooking. Solid fuel emissions account for 17 percent of lung cancer deaths in men and 22 percent in women.
Risk factors and prevention
Trachea, bronchus, and lung cancers can affect anyone, but they’re most likely to affect those who have a history of smoking or tobacco use. Other risk factors for these cancers include family history and exposure to environmental factors, such as diesel fumes.
Aside from avoiding fumes and tobacco products, it isn’t known if there’s anything else that can be done to prevent lung cancers. However, early detection can improve your outlook and reduce the symptoms of respiratory cancer.
Deaths in 2015 were 1.6 million. Increased by 2.8% since 2000 when the death rate was 1 million.
Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect insulin production and use. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can’t produce insulin. The cause isn’t known. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or insulin can’t be used effectively. Type 2 diabetes can be caused by a number of factors, including poor diet, lack of exercise, and being overweight.
Impact of diabetes around the world
People in low- to middle-income countries are more likely to die of complications from diabetes.
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for diabetes include:
excess body weight
high blood pressure
not exercising regularly
an unhealthy diet
While diabetes isn’t always preventable, you can control the severity of symptoms by exercising regularly and maintaining good nutrition. Adding more fiber to your diet can help with controlling your blood sugar.
The death rate in 2000 was 1.2 million and increased by 2.7% to 1.5 million in 2015
Published by John Elflein, Aug 20, 2019
The term dementia is used to describe not one specific disease but a wide range of symptoms. The most well-known and pronounced symptoms of dementia include memory loss and a decrease in the ability to think. Other symptoms include difficulties speaking or problems with language, emotional problems, visual problems, and a general decrease in the ability to reason, make judgments, focus, and pay attention.
The most recognized and common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for over half of all cases. Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Risk factors for dementia include age and genetics as well as a poor diet, a lack of physical exercise, smoking, and poor general cardiovascular health. In 2018, it was estimated that around 50 million people suffered from dementia worldwide.
When you think of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you might think of a loss of memory, but you might not think of a loss of life. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that destroys memory and interrupts normal mental functions. These include thinking, reasoning, and typical behavior.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia — 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases are in fact Alzheimer’s. The disease starts off by causing mild memory problems, difficulty recalling information, and slips in recollection. Over time, however, the disease progresses and you may not have a memory of large periods of time. A 2014 study found that the number of deaths in the United States due to Alzheimer’s may be higher than reported.
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease include:
being older than 65
a family history of the disease
inheriting genes for the disease from your parents
existing mild cognitive impairment
previous head trauma
being shut off from a community or having poor engagement with other people for extended periods of time
There’s not currently a way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Researches aren’t clear why some people develop it and others don’t. As they work to understand this, they’re also working to find preventive techniques.
One thing that may be helpful in reducing your risk of the disease is a heart-healthy diet. A diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fats from meat and dairy, and high in sources of good fats like nuts, olive oil, and lean fish may help you reduce your risk of more than just heart disease — they may protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease, too.
8. Dehydration due to diarrheal diseases
Deaths in 2000 were 2.2 million decreased by 2.5% in 2015 to 1.4 million.
Diarrhea is when you pass three or more loose stools in a day. If your diarrhea lasts more than a few days, your body loses too much water and salt. This causes dehydration, which can lead to death. Diarrhea is usually caused by an intestinal virus or bacteria transmitted through contaminated water or food. It’s particularly widespread in developing nations with poor sanitary conditions.
Impact of diarrheal diseases around the world
Diarrheal disease is the second top of death in children younger than 5 years. About 760,000 children die from diarrheal diseases each year.
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for diarrheal diseases include:
Living in an area with poor sanitary conditions
no access to clean water
age, with children being the most likely to experience severe symptoms of diarrheal diseases
a weakened immune system
According to UNICEF, the best method of prevention is practicing good hygiene. Good handwashing techniques can reduce the incidence of diarrheal diseases by 40 percent. Improved sanitization and water quality, as well as access to early medical intervention, can also help prevent diarrheal diseases.
Deaths in 2000 were 2.3 million decreased by 2.4% in 2015 to 1.3 million
Tuberculosis (TB) is a lung condition caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It’s a treatable airborne bacterium, although some strains are resistant to conventional treatments. TB is one of the top causes of death in people who have HIV. About 35 percent of HIV-related deaths are due to TB.
Impact of TB around the world
The cases of TB have fallen 1.5 percent each year since 2000. The goal is to end TB by 2030.
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for tuberculosis include:
a lower body weight
proximity to others with TB
regular use of certain medications like corticosteroids or drugs that suppress the immune system
The best prevention against TB is to get the bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine. This is commonly given to children. If you think you’ve been exposed to TB bacteria, you can start taking a treatment medication called chemoprophylaxis to reduce the likelihood of developing the condition.
Deaths in 2000 were 905 thousand. In 2015 this increased by 2.1% to 1.2 million.
From 2000 to 2017, for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. In 2017, around 9.3 out of 100 thousand Canadians died from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. In 2000, the death rate stood at approximately 7.2 per 100,000.
Cirrhosis is the result of chronic or long-term scarring and damage to the liver. The damage may be the result of kidney disease, or it can be caused by conditions like hepatitis and chronic alcoholism. A healthy liver filters harmful substances from your blood and sends healthy blood into your body. As substances damage the liver, scar tissue forms. As more scar tissue forms, the liver has to work harder to function properly. Ultimately, the liver may stop working.
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for cirrhosis include:
chronic alcohol use
fat accumulation around the liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
chronic viral hepatitis
Stay away from the behaviors that can lead to liver damage to help prevent cirrhosis. Long-term alcohol use and abuse are some of the leading causes of cirrhosis, so avoiding alcohol can help you prevent damage. Likewise, you can avoid nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by eating a diet that’s healthy, rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in sugar and fat. Lastly, you can reduce the likelihood of contracting viral hepatitis by using protection during sex and by avoiding sharing anything that could have traces of blood. This includes needles, razors, toothbrushes, and more.
While deaths from some diseases have increased, those from more serious conditions have also decreased. Some factors, such as an increasing life span, naturally increase the incidence of diseases such as CAD, stroke, and heart disease. However, many of the diseases on this list are preventable and treatable. As medicine continues to advance and prevention education grows, we may see a reduction in death rates from these diseases.
A good approach to lowering your risk of any of these conditions is to live a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and exercise. Avoiding smoking and drinking in moderation can also help. For bacterial or viral infections, proper handwashing can help prevent or reduce your risk.
Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., RN, CRNA on September 13, 2017 — Written by Ann Pietrangelo and Kimberly Holland
What are the leading causes of death in the US?
Chronic lower respiratory disease
Stroke and cerebrovascular diseases
Influenza and pneumonia
Around 74% of all deaths in the United States occur as a result of 10 causes. Over the past 5 years, the main causes of death in the U.S. have remained fairly consistent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 2,813,503 registered deaths in the United States in 2017.
The age-adjusted death rate, which accounts for the aging population, is 731.9 deaths per 100,000 people in the U.S. This is an increase of 0.4% over 2016’s death rate.
However, the CDC advises that using age-adjusted rates is inaccurate for ranking causes of death.
All figures and percentages provided here come from the most recent data from the CDC, collected in 2017.
In this article, we expand on each of the leading causes of death and provide links to more detailed information on each condition. We also rank the causes according to the number of deaths per condition and their percentage share of the overall registered death count in the U.S.
1. Heart disease
Many of the top 10 causes of death are preventable through lifestyle changes and regular checkups.
Deaths in 2017: 647,457
Percentage of total deaths: 23.5%
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. This is the case in the U.S. and worldwide. More than half of all people who die due to heart disease are men.
Medical professionals use the term heart disease to describe several conditions. Many of these conditions relate to the buildup of plaque in the walls of the arteries.
As the plaque develops, the arteries narrow. This makes it difficult for blood to flow around the body and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. It can also give rise to angina, arrhythmia, and heart failure.
To reduce the risk of dying from heart disease, a person can protect their heart health by adopting a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
Being able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack can also help people get prompt medical treatment and potentially save their lives.
In this article, learn more about the symptoms of heart disease and how to prevent it.
Deaths in 2017: 599,108
Percentage of total deaths: 21.3%
Cancer occurs when cells do not die at a normal point in their life cycle. If a person’s body cannot control the spread of these cells, they can interfere with essential, life-sustaining systems and possibly lead to death.
Everyone has some degree of risk, but for most cancers, the risk will increase with age. Some people have a higher or lower risk due to differences in exposure to carcinogens, such as from smoking or exposure to chemical pollutants. Genetic factors also play a strong role in cancer development.
Race and sex also play a role in a person’s risk of developing cancer, depending on the type. That said, lung cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer in both men and women.
However, researchers are always taking steps to advance cancer treatment. In fact, the death rate from all cancers in the U.S. has dropped by 26% since 1991.
Estimated cancer-related deaths for 2019
The American Cancer Society estimates how many people will die from certain types of cancer in 2019.
According to them, the leading causes of death from cancer for males will be:
Lung and bronchus cancer: 76,650 deaths
Prostate cancer: 31,620 deaths
Colorectal cancer: 27,640 deaths
The leading causes of death from cancer for females will be:
Lung and bronchus cancer: 66,020 deaths
Breast cancer: 41,760 deaths
Colorectal cancer: 23,380 deaths
3. Unintentional injuries
Deaths in 2017: 169,936
Percentage of total deaths: 6%
Accidents, or unintentional injuries, are the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S. overall, and the leading cause of death for those aged 1–44.
Possible prevention measures
Accidents are unintentional and usually unavoidable. However, there are many ways to reduce the risk of accidental injury and death.
Some key components of accident prevention include focusing on on-road and workplace safety, such as using a seatbelt and never driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Deaths in 2017: 160,201
Percentage of total deaths: 5.7%
Chronic lower respiratory disease refers to a group of lung conditions that block the airflow and cause breathing-related issues. These diseases include:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Smoking drastically increases a person’s risk of developing these conditions.
5. Stroke and cerebrovascular diseases
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.
Deaths in 2017: 146,383
Percentage of total deaths: 5.2%
Cerebrovascular diseases develop due to problems with the blood vessels that supply the brain.
Four of the most common cerebrovascular diseases are:
the transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke
Every year, more than 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke. The risk of stroke varies with race, ethnicity, and age.
The highest death rates from stroke in the U.S. occur in the Southeast.
In this article, learn about stroke, including how to prevent it.
Deaths in 2017: 121,404
Percentage of total deaths: 4.3%
Dementia refers to a group of conditions that cause a decline in cognitive function. This affects a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.
Damage to the nerve cells in the brain causes dementia. As a result of the damage, neurons can no longer function normally and may die. This, in turn, can lead to changes in memory, behavior, and the ability to think clearly.
Alzheimer’s disease is just one type of dementia. Another type, called vascular dementia, can cause similar symptoms but instead results from changes to blood flow to the brain.
For people with Alzheimer’s disease, neuron damage and death eventually impair their ability to perform essential actions, such as walking and swallowing.
People in the final stages of this condition may not be able to leave their beds and may require around-the-clock care. Alzheimer’s is ultimately fatal.
In the U.S., an estimated 5.8 million people currently have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This figure may rise to 14 million people by 2050 as life expectancy continues to increase.
Alzheimer’s is also the only cause of death in the top 10 that medical experts cannot cure, prevent, or slow down.
In this article, learn more about Alzheimer’s disease.
Deaths in 2017: 83,564
Percentage of total deaths: 3%
Diabetes is a condition wherein the body can no longer control blood glucose, which leads to dangerously high levels of blood glucose. This is called hyperglycemia.
Persistent hyperglycemia can damage the body’s tissues, including those in the nerves, blood vessels, and eyes.
The body converts most of the food people eat into glucose, a simple sugar, which it can then use for energy. The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells.
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The bodies of people with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin at all, so these people need to supplement their supply. The bodies of people with type 2 diabetes cannot use insulin effectively.
However, it is possible to control the risk of type 2 diabetes with careful dietary management and regular exercise.
Diabetes can cause serious health complications, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and the need for amputation of the lower extremities.
Learn more about diabetes, including some of the treatment options, here.
Deaths in 2017: 55,672
Percentage of total deaths: 2%
Influenza, or flu, is a highly contagious viral infection. It is one of the most severe illnesses of the winter season.
Flu spreads easily from person to person, usually when someone who carries the virus coughs or sneezes.
A person can have the flu more than once, as many different strains of the virus can cause infection. They may belong to one of three different influenza families: A, B, or C.
Type A viruses tend to affect adults more severely, while type B viruses most often cause health problems in children. Type C viruses are fairly uncommon.
Pneumonia, a serious condition that causes inflammation of the lungs, can cause complications in people who have the flu.
Pneumonia causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill with pus and other fluids, preventing oxygen from reaching the bloodstream. If there is too little oxygen in the blood, the body’s cells cannot function. This can be fatal.
Deaths in 2017: 50,633
Percentage of total deaths: 1.8%
People over 60 years of age have a high risk of kidney disease.
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis are all conditions that affect the kidneys.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes kidney damage. Damaged kidneys cannot filter blood as well as healthy kidneys. As a result of this, waste from the blood remains in the body and may lead to other health problems.
Around 30 million people in the U.S. may have CKD to some degree. Being over 60 years old increases the risk of CKD, as does having a family history of it. High blood pressure and diabetes are most likely to cause CKD.
Good and Bad signs of Kidney failure
CKD develops in stages, and it does not usually cause symptoms until its most advanced stage. So, undergoing regular screenings can help reduce a person’s risk of dying from kidney disease.
In this article, learn more about CKD.
Deaths in 2017: 47,173
When a person dies by suicide, they may have lived with a mental health condition — such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder — for a long time.
However, not all people who attempt suicide or die by it have these conditions.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 years.
Establishing a strong support network, taking appropriate medications, and seeking therapy may help reduce the risk of suicide.
In this article, learn more about dealing with suicidal ideation, including how to get help.
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
Call 911 or the local emergency number.
Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
Listen to the person without judgment.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.
How do I bring down my overall risk of death?
Lifestyle habits will most likely have the greatest impact on a person’s risk of developing some of these conditions.
Eating healthy foods in optimal proportions, sleeping and exercising regularly, drinking in moderation, avoiding tobacco products and other drugs, and building healthy and positive relationships will all work to improve a person’s quality of life and reduce their risk of premature death.
Also, establishing an ongoing relationship with a doctor and undergoing regular screenings for conditions that run in the family can aid prompt treatment if these conditions do develop.
These Deadly Diseases Still Have No Cure
July 18, 2018
It’s the premise for too many science fiction novels and films to count. A highly contagious and deadly disease spreads around the world, forcing scientists to scramble for a cure they aren’t sure exists.
Pandemics have happened and could happen again. But what many of us possibly fear more than widespread outbreaks is contracting a devastating illness you’d think would have a cure by now, but doesn’t. Something that seems like it could have been prevented, but wasn’t.
Not all incurable diseases are contagious. Many chronic conditions develop seemingly out of nowhere and force people to learn to live with them.
These are just a few diseases and chronic conditions that doctors know how to treat but still aren’t sure how to cure.
Alzheimer’s occurs most often in individuals over the age of 65, but the disease can develop anytime during or after middle age. It affects the mind first, disrupting a person’s ability to think, reason, and recall. This makes day-to-day activities increasingly more difficult as the disease progresses, and physical health often declines thereafter.
Over five million people live with this disease in the United States alone. Once you’re diagnosed with the disease, you could live up to 10 years or more before complications take over. You’re guaranteed to die with the disease, even if you don’t die as a direct result of it.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes negatively affect the body’s ability to control its own blood sugar. Either the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin to regulate it, or the body becomes “resistant” to the insulin it does produce. This can cause serious complications many people are forced to live with for a lifetime.
Doctors can prescribe medications and devices to help people with both primary types of diabetes live as normal of a life as possible. But there is no cure. Some people have successfully managed to reverse their type 2 diabetes, but it’s uncommon, and it’s not the same as “curing” the disease.
The disease spreads from person to person through the body fluids of those infected, primarily entering through the eyes, nose, and mouth. Those who do survive the disease often experience significant symptoms like exhaustion, vision problems, and more.
There currently isn’t an antiviral drug you can take to recover from the disease. Scientists are looking into methods that block virus particles from entering cells but don’t know whether or not this could treat large numbers of people in the midst of another outbreak.
Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 1,600 people in the last year since a new outbreak spread in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Latest numbers as of 16 March 2020
A total of 3444 cases (3310 confirmed & 134 probable), including 2264 deaths, 1169 survivors, and patients still under care.
There are over 100 known types of cancer worldwide. These abnormal cells can grow pretty much anywhere in your body, and survival rates vary depending on the location and stage of the disease. Your chances of surviving cancer decrease in the later stage.
There is no known “cure” for cancer. Treatments like chemotherapy and surgery can successfully remove cancer cells from the body, sending someone into a state of remission. But the reason cancer often comes back is that removing it isn’t the same as fully preventing or curing it — both are currently impossible.
The more time passes, the closer we are to finding cures for diseases like these. There are things you can do to decrease your risk of developing certain conditions. Unfortunately, though, there is almost never a guaranteed way to keep yourself from getting sick. But taking care of yourself, and the ones you love can increase your chances of living a long, healthy, happy life.
Please I do not want you to think I am trying to scare anyone. I just feel that knowledge can always prepare and prevent many medical conditions. Being aware of potential risks and how to avoid them is crucial.
Prevention is always better than cure.
Thank you for reading.
Comments are welcome