Special Report

10 Deadliest Diseases in the World

3. COPD
> Deaths in 2012:
3.1 million
> Deaths in 2000: 3.1 million
> Share of global deaths: 5.6%

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder refers to any chronic lung disease that disrupts the airflow to the lungs. The primary risk factors of COPD are tobacco smoking and air pollution. The disease is typically diagnosed in individuals 40 years old or older, worsens over time, and is not curable. The primary causes of COPD vary by geography. In high- and middle-income countries, tobacco is the main risk factor, while in low-income countries exposure to pollution, particularly from indoor sources like low quality kitchen facilities, is the main risk factor. An estimated 64 million people worldwide have COPD, and 3.1 million died from it in 2012. While this is the same death toll as in 2000, deaths are expected to increase in the future.

2. Stroke
> Deaths in 2012:
6.7 million
> Deaths in 2000: 5.7 million
> Share of global deaths: 11.9%

Strokes are caused by an interruption of the blood supply to the brain. The temporary lack of oxygen and nutrients damage the brain tissue, and in some cases this can be fatal. Like many cardiovascular diseases, the risk of stroke can often be reduced. A healthy diet, frequent exercise, monitoring blood pressure levels, and abstaining from tobacco use will lower the likelihood of stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of death in upper-middle income countries, where it causes 126 deaths per every 100,000 people. The disease is even more common in low- and middle-income countries, where three out of every four cardiovascular mortalities are reported.

1. Ischaemic heart disease
> Deaths in 2012:
7.4 million
> Deaths in 2000: 6.0 million
> Share of global deaths: 13.2%

Across the globe, no disease causes more deaths than ischaemic heart disease. Ischemia is a condition in which the heart arteries narrow, and the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart becomes limited. Ischaemic heart disease, also known as coronary heart disease, accounts for more than two in every five cardiovascular deaths worldwide. Heart diseases can often be prevented. Healthy eating, physical activity, and abstaining from tobacco use can lower an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease. The highest cardiovascular mortality rates are found in Eastern European countries. In Turkmenistan, 712 people per 100,000 die from heart diseases such as ischaemic heart attack and stroke, the highest cardiovascular death rate of any country. Across the globe, 7.4 million people died of ischaemic heart disease in 2012, up from 6 million in 2000.

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