List of Diseases causing the most deaths worldwide

Here are some of the diseases whose prevalence is rising rapidly across the world. The following diseases are chronic and impairs the quality of a life of an individual. In some cases a patient is not the only sufferer, but their family members or their caregivers are also suffering and living an bad quality of life.

1. Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease is one of the leading cause of death for both men and women. It is also known as coronary artery disease and it affects the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart. Coronary heart disease is characterized by the buildup of plaque inside the coronary arteries. Plaques are made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances that are found in the blood and as it progresses, plaque hardens and narrows the arteries. As a result, this disrupts and reduces the blood flow to the heart muscles.

Coronary heart disease is accompanied by angina and heart attack. When the oxygen rich blood flowing to the area of the area of the heart muscle is not enough, it causes angina or chest pain. Angina is characterized by the pressure in the chest and pain in some parts of the body. When the flow of blood to the heart muscles is completely blocked, it causes a heart attack. The blockage stops the oxygen rich blood to reach the heart muscle and results in an attack. Sometimes, as this disease progresses, it weakens the heart muscles and ultimately leads to heart failure.

2. Lung cancer

Lung cancer has become a topic of health concern and every year a large number of people are diagnosed by this deadly disease. It is the deadliest of all cancers and The Lungs are the main organs for breathing. Lung cancer is a type of cancer which occurs when abnormal growth occurs in the cells lining the air passage inside the lung tissue. These cells grow rapidly and form a tumor.

The two types of this type of cancer are- small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is a serious type of lung cancer and it spreads quickly even at an early stage. Non-small cell lung cancer is the common type of lung cancer and it is further divided into four types:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Large cell carcinoma
  • Not otherwise specified

Some of the common signs and symptoms that are associated with the lung cancer are a cough, dyspnea, wheezing, reduced appetite, weight loss, shortness of breath, extreme tiredness and chest pain. Numerous studies suggest that damage to the genes in the lung cells are the cause of abnormal growth and in almost 90% of the diagnosed cases, exposure to smoke is the main cause of the occurrence of the lung cancer.

3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

A chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a major cause of chronic morbidity and mortality throughout the world.  It is a chronic respiratory disease that involves difficulty in emptying air out of the lungs. The airflow limitation is caused by the mixture of small airways diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Chronic bronchitis is defined as a condition which causes an inflammation and the production of mucus in the breathing tubes. Chronic bronchitis is a major component of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and it is characterized by the increased production of a cough and sputum. On the other hand, emphysema involves damage to the walls of the air sacs of the lungs. It entails the destruction of alveoli in the airways, as a result, it impairs the ability to bring oxygen into the body and eliminate carbon dioxide.  

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Worldwide, tobacco smoking is the most commonly encountered risk factor for the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Other than smoking, pipe, cigar, and marijuana also contribute to the development of this disease. Sometimes, air pollution can also be the cause of this disease.

4. Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic endocrine disorder characterized by high blood sugar level resulting from the insulin deficiency. It is a serious disorder that is associated with various serious health complications such as heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure. It is one of the leading cause of death worldwide. The incidence and prevalence of diabetes in rising rapidly in both children and adults.

Diabetes is divided into two types. Diabetes type 1 is defined as a condition in which the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. Diabetes type 2 is defined as a condition in which the pancreas is unable to produce insulin or diabetes occurs due to the body’s incapability to use the produced insulin effectively.

Diabetes mellitus is accompanied by a wide range of symptoms such as frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, numbness in the hands or feet, dry skin, sores, and sudden vision change. Managing diabetes is essential and it can be managed by bringing small changes in everyday life such as doing a regular physical activity, balancing diet, drinking plenty of water, and keeping a track of blood sugar level.

5. Dementia

Dementia is a chronic brain disorder and it is characterized by the progressive cognitive impairment, accompanied by various symptoms that affect the functional ability of a person. It is a serious disease of the brain that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Each person experiences the symptoms of dementia in a unique way and the symptoms of this disease depend on the part of the disease that is affected. Some of the symptoms of this disease include day to day memory problems, problems with concentration, and problems with communications.  

Dementia is associated with cognitive abnormalities and it is divided into five types:

  • Alzheimer’s disease – It is the most common type of dementia and is characterized by forgetting recent events or information, misplacing items, irritability, anxiety, disorientation and lack of confidence.
  • Vascular dementia – It is the second most common type of dementia and it is characterized by memory problems, communication problems, difficulty walking, emotional problems, and personality changes.
  • Dementia with lewy bodies – Dementia with lewy bodies is similar to Alzheimer’s disease and it is characterized by visual hallucinations, fainting, confusion, and symptoms that occur in Parkinson’s disease.
  • Frontotemporal dementia – It is also known as frontotemporal lobar degeneration and it is characterized by symptoms like personality changes, lack of self awareness, overeating, behavioral changes, and hesitation.   
  • Mixed dementia – It is a type of dementia in which an individual experiences symptoms of more than one type of dementia. For example, a patient can experience the symptoms of both Alzheimer’s dementia as well as vascular dementia.

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.