10 Leading Causes of Mortality Worldwide

Death is the termination of the biological functions that define a living organism. The leading cause of death in developing countries is infectious disease. The leading causes of death in developed countries are atherosclerosis (heart disease and stroke), cancer, and other diseases related to obesity and aging. These conditions cause loss of homeostasis, leading to cardiac arrest, causing loss of oxygen and nutrient supply, causing irreversible deterioration of the brain and other tissues. Of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds die of age-related causes. In industrialized nations, the proportion is much higher, reaching 90%. With improved medical capability, dying has become a condition to be managed. Home deaths, once commonplace, are now rare in the developed world. In developing nations, inferior sanitary conditions and lack of access to modern medical technology makes death from infectious diseases more common than in developed countries. One such disease is tuberculosis, a bacterial disease which killed 1.7 million people in 2004. Malaria causes about 400–900 million cases of fever and 1–3 million deaths annually. AIDS death toll in Africa may reach 90–100 million by 2025. Many leading developed world causes of death can be postponed by diet and physical activity, but the accelerating incidence of disease with age still imposes limits on human longevity. Here we have a generalized look at top 10 leading causes of motility and morbidity across the world. Here worth mentioning would be Diabetes Mellitus that affects 90% of Americans and imposes a serious risk factor to health but since its very much controllable, it is not enumerated below.


10. Septicemia and Neonatal Infections

neonatal infections

Sepsis is a serious medical condition that is characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state (called a systemic inflammatory response syndrome or SIRS) and the presence of a known or suspected infection. Related condition when occurs with neonates is called neonatal infection. Neonates are prone to infection in the first month of life. Some organisms such as S. agalactiae (Group B Streptococcus) or (GBS) are more prone to cause these occasionally fatal infections. Risk factors for GBS infection include: prematurity, a sibling who has had a GBS infection and prolonged labour or rupture of membranes. Untreated sexually transmitted infections are associated with congenital and perinatal infections in neonates, particularly in the areas where rates of infection remain high. The overall perinatal mortality rate associated with untreated syphilis, for example, approached 40%.


9. Tuberculosis


Tuberculosis or TB is a common and often deadly infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis in humans. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air, when people who have the disease cough, sneeze, or spit. Most infections in humans result in an asymptomatic, latent infection, and about one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to active disease, which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of its victims. A third of the world’s population are thought to be infected with M. tuberculosis, and new infections occur at a rate of about one per second. The proportion of people who become sick with tuberculosis each year is stable or falling worldwide but, because of population growth, the absolute number of new cases is still increasing. Recent stats show there were an estimated 13.7 million chronic active cases, 9.3 million new cases, and 1.8 million deaths, mostly in developing countries. In addition, more people in the developed world are contracting tuberculosis because their immune systems are compromised by immunosuppressive drugs, substance abuse, or AIDS. The distribution of tuberculosis is not uniform across the globe; about 80% of the population in many Asian and African countries test positive in tuberculin tests, while only 5-10% of the US population test positive.


8. Diarrheal Diseases

Diarrheal Disease

Diarrhea is defined by the World Health Organization as having 3 or more loose or liquid stools per day, or as having more stools than is normal for that person. It is thus the condition of having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day. It is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. In 2009 diarrhea was estimated to have caused 1.1 million deaths in people aged 5 and over and 1.5 million deaths in children under the age of 5. Oral rehydration salts and zinc tablets are the treatment of choice and have been estimated to have saved 50 million children in the past 25 years.


7. Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias


Senile Dementia of the Alzheimer Type ( SDAT ) or simply Alzheimer’s , is the most common form of dementia. This incurable, degenerative, and terminal disease was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him. Generally, it is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age,] although the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur much earlier. In 2006, there were 26.6 million sufferers worldwide. Alzheimer’s is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050. The cause and progression of Alzheimer’s disease are not well understood. Research indicates that the disease is associated with plaques and tangles in the brain. Currently used treatments offer a small symptomatic benefit; no treatments to delay or halt the progression of the disease are as yet available. As of 2008, more than 500 clinical trials have been conducted for identification of a possible treatment for AD, but it is unknown if any of the tested intervention strategies will show promising results.


6. Accident (Unintentional Injuries)


Accidents have been a major cause of death since the population rise. Most would include in the roadside accidents but many other unintentional causes are within this category like accidental poisoning, drowning etc. An accident is a specific, unidentifiable, unexpected, unusual and unintended external action which occurs in a particular time and place, with no apparent and deliberate cause but with marked effects. It implies a generally negative outcome which may have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence. Experts in the field of injury prevention avoid use of the term ‘accident’ to describe events that cause injury in an attempt to highlight the predictable and preventable nature of most injuries. Such incidents are viewed from the perspective of epidemiology – predictable and preventable. Preferred words are more descriptive of the event itself, rather than of its unintended nature (e.g., collision, drowning, fall, etc.) However, together this umbrella term is the 6th leading cause of  death worldwide.


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