Cardiovascular diseases led to most deaths in 2008: WHO

The report also cited a difference between rich and poor countries with respect to the causes leading to death.

Written by Teena Thacker | New Delhi | Published:June 29, 2011 1:19 am

Among an estimated 57 million global deaths in 2008,cardiovascular diseases killed the most than any other disease,says a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the report,circulated Monday,in 2008,7.3 million people died of ischaemic (characterised by reduced blood supply to the heart) disease,6.2 million from stroke or another form of cerebrovascular complications (a group of brain dysfunctions related to disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain).

The report also cited a difference between rich and poor countries with respect to the causes leading to death.

It suggested that in high-income countries people predominantly die of chronic diseases like cardiovascular and obstructive lung diseases,cancers,diabetes or dementia. Lung infection remains the only leading infectious cause of death. However,in these countries more than two-thirds of all people live beyond the age of 70,the report said.

On the other hand,in middle-income countries,nearly half of people live till the age of 70 and chronic diseases are the major killers just as they are in high-income countries. “Unlike in high-income countries,however,tuberculosis,HIV/AIDS and road traffic accidents also are leading causes of death in such countries,” it said.

In low-income countries,less than one among five reach the age of 70,and more than a third of all deaths are among children under 15. People predominantly die of infectious diseases — lung infections,diarrhoea,HIV/AIDS,tuberculosis and malaria. Complications of pregnancy and childbirth together continue to be leading causes of death,claiming the lives of both infants and mothers.

The report said more than “eight million deaths in 2008 were among children under five years of age and 99 per cent of them were in low and middle-income countries”.

The report also found that tobacco use was a major cause of many of the world’s top killer diseases — including cardiovascular,chronic obstructive lung diseases and lung cancer. “In total,tobacco use is responsible for the death of almost one in 10 adults worldwide. Smoking is often the hidden cause of the disease recorded as responsible for death.”

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