Top Causes of Death Worldwide (and How to Avoid Them!)

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Posted on: September 27, 2015

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Top causes of death worldwide - Dr. Axe

Spoiler alert: all of us will die at some point. But how we die is fascinating, because it provides insight into the health “trends” in our society as a whole, like what progress we’ve made and where we’re lagging. A great measure of that is the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), released annually by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which looks at the leading causes of death in the world. The latest edition is packed with information. (1)

The good news? Countries are saving more lives than ever before, especially when it comes to kids under 5 years old. The bad news? Obesity-related diseases are some of the top causes of death worldwide, and researchers are worried about what the future holds.


What Are the Leading Causes of Death in the World?

 The GBD is the largest, most comprehensive effort to quantify health and deaths across the world and how it changes over time. More than 2,500 collaborators from over 130 countries and territories were involved in this year’s report, which examines 2016. Some of the news is really positive.

For example, the data shows that death rates from some of the world’s malicious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, lower respiratory infections, neonatal preterm birth and diarrhea, all declined by at least 30 percent in the last 10 years.

But it’s the first in the “triad of troubles” — obesity, conflict and mental illness — that researchers believe is especially dangerous and keeping people from living long and healthy lives. Already, the top cause of death worldwide in 2016, accounting for almost 9.5 million, was ischemic heart disease.

This is also known as coronary artery disease, a condition occurring when your arteries are damaged and blood, oxygen and nutrients can’t flow through to the heart. Plaque in the arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for the damage and, if the lack of access to the heart continues, can lead to a heart attack.

Diabetes also was responsible for 1.4 million deaths, a 31 percent increase from a decade earlier, and is the 9th leading cause of death in the U.S., killing more people than AIDS and breast cancer combined. (2)

The authors of the GBD are alarmed at how quickly the rate of obesity is increasing and how the disease’s effects are spread throughout all sociodemographic levels ­— no one is safe. Currently, a too-high body mass index is the fourth largest contributor to the loss of healthy life, following high blood pressure, smoking and high blood sugar. Additionally, poor diet was linked to almost one in five deaths globally. So what do we do?


How to Avoid the Top Causes of Death Worldwide

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to the report. Obesity is the main concern, but most people can address the condition naturally and it’s well worth it. You’ll reduce your risk of dying from an obesity-related disease, like heart disease or diabetes, and enjoy overall better health. So how can you obesity,...


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