Special Report

10 Deadliest Diseases in the World

10. Tuberculosis
> Deaths in 2012:
900,000 million
> Deaths in 2000: 1.3 million
> Share of global deaths: N/A

Nearly 1 million people died of tuberculosis in 2012, down from 1.3 million in 2000. Overall, tuberculosis is the 12th largest cause of death worldwide, and among diseases the 10th largest cause of death. According to the WHO, the relatively low quality and amount of data available, while steadily improving, mean the actual number of deaths due to TB is likely far higher. There were 9.6 million new cases of TB in the world in 2014, the vast majority of which were reported in Southeast Asia, Western Pacific, and African regions.

9. Hypertensive heart disease
> Deaths in 2012:
1.1 million
> Deaths in 2000: 0.8 million
> Share of global deaths: 2.0%

Hypertensive heart disease refers to heart problems caused by high blood pressure. High blood pressure is an underlying factor in many diseases, and is responsible for 58% of all cardiovascular deaths. Along with stroke, ischaemic heart disease, and other conditions, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Medication and lifestyle changes such as physical activity and healthy eating can reduce high blood pressure. Still, many people are unaware of their blood pressure levels and as a result hypertension often goes undetected. Hypertensive heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in upper-middle and high-income countries, where it is responsible for 20 deaths per 100,000 people annually, in line with motor vehicle fatalities.

8. Diabetes mellitus
> Deaths in 2012:
1.5 million
> Deaths in 2000: 1 million
> Share of global deaths: 2.7%

People with diabetes can lead a long and healthy life when treated with medication and lifestyle changes. Despite this, the disease was responsible for 1.5 million deaths worldwide in 2012, up 50% from 1 million in 2000. There are several types of diabetes, but type 2 diabetes is by far the most common, accounting for about 90% of all diabetes cases. Although physical activity and a healthy diet can significantly lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, reports of the disease have been increasing worldwide, reflecting the growing prevalence of obesity. Moreover, type 2 diabetes, which was previously rare among children, is becoming increasingly more common among overweight youths. Diabetes is also most common in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

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