According to a report published on the website of the World Health Organization, in 2019, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes were included in the list of diseases causing the most deaths.
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are the third leading cause of death in both Europe and the Americas. WHO reports that women are seriously affected by such diseases, with 65% of deaths from this category of disease occurring among them.
Diabetes mortality increased by 70% worldwide between 2000 and 2019, and mortality in men by 80%. The highest percentage increase in deaths from diabetes (more than doubling) was recorded in the Eastern Mediterranean, WHO notes.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death over the past 20 years. The number of victims of such diseases has increased by more than 2 million since 2000 and reached almost 9 million in 2019.
Heart disease accounts for 16% of total deaths. More than half of the 2 million new deaths occurred in the WHO region called the Western Pacific, which includes countries such as China, Japan, Korea and Australia. In contrast, the European Region has seen a relative decline in morbidity, and mortality from cardiovascular diseases has decreased by 15%, WHO reports.
Lower respiratory tract infections caused fewer deaths in 2019 compared to 2000. They rank fourth in the WHO list of causes of death. Other infectious diseases have also become less deadly on a global scale, for example, HIV/AIDS dropped from 8th to 19th place on the list in 20 years, and tuberculosis from 7th to 13th.
“The new estimates are yet another reminder that we need to rapidly scale up the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of noncommunicable diseases,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “They highlight the urgency of fundamentally improving primary health care in an equitable and holistic manner. Strong primary health care is undoubtedly the foundation on which everything from fighting non-communicable diseases to managing a global pandemic rests.”