A deadly disease is a disease that kills; not all diseases are deadly. We can rate a disease in terms of how deadly it is by the number of persons it killed in a given period. Today, we shall discuss the current nine world’s most deadly diseases with No.1 being the deadliest.
9. Diarrhoeal diseases
The No. 9 position goes to Diarrhoeal diseases.
Diarrhoea is the passage of watery stools more than three times a day leading to loss of water and salt.. Frequent passage of solid stool is not diarrhea nor is the passage of soft stool by breast fed babies. There are three types of diarrhea: acute watery diarrhea, dysentery and persistent diarrhea (lasting beyond two weeks). In the case of dysentery, stooling is loose and more than three times but mixed with blood and mucus.
Diarrhoea is caused by over twenty five different types of bacteria, viruses and parasites while dysentery is caused by a bacterium called shigella in most cases.
The germs causing diarrhea and dysentery are passed in stool and can contaminate the hands of an infected person. They can then be passed on through handshake if contaminated hands are not properly washed. Diarrhoea also spreads through contaminated water and food.
About 1.7 million cases of diarrhoea occur annually worldwide with estimated 780,000 deaths in children under 5 years of age.
The No. 8 position is seized by HIV/AIDS
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is said to have its origin in D.R. Congo in Central Africa. A form of the virus is said to exist in Chimpanzee as Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV); if this is the case, then, man (hunter) must have gotten the virus on killing the chimpanzee for meat and his (hunter’s) open wound came in contact with the infected blood of the chimpanzee.
It is said that the virus then mutated into HIV in the human body thus starting the spread in human population.
The virus may have been around for a very long time but gained prominence which has remained till today in the 1970s.
Today, HIV/AIDS is a global problem though prevalence level varies widely from country/region to country/region.
There are about 35 million people living with HIV globally with about 70 percent of this number in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa/Southern Africa have the largest number of people living with HIV, followed by East Africa, Central Africa and West Africa.
The age group most affected is 15-24 years
About 1.1 million persons died of HIV related illnesses in 2015
7. Tuberculosis (TB)
The number 7 slot is occupied by tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis occurs all over the world but there is great difference in prevalence between the developed world and the rest of the world. This could be attributed to early diagnosis and treatment, better nutrition, better housing and preventive measures.
At a point it was almost nonexistent in the developed world but those countries relaxed and the disease has re-surfaced with a vengeance.
India is said to account for about a fifth of new infections of tuberculosis globally, the reasons for this are obvious.
Tuberculosis now ranks alongside HIV as the world’s biggest killing infectious disease, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
About 10.4 million new TB cases were recorded in 2015 worldwide according to the World Health Organization; men accounted for 5.9 million cases, women 3.5 million cases children 1 million cases and people living with HIV 1.2 million cases. About 60 percent of the new cases occurred in India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.
In the same year about 580,000 new drug-resistant TB cases were recorded and also 1.4 million TB deaths globally.
Tuberculosis therefore remained one of the ten mostly diseases worldwide in 2015.
The WHO, however, says it will shift to end TB by cutting deaths by 90 percent by 2030.
In Nigeria, there is a resurgence of TB, It has been reported that 91,534 Nigerians are infected with Tuberculosis annually but sadly several cases remain unreported, thereby making it difficult for the disease to be eradicated..
There are over 6000 healthcare facilities across the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria providing Tuberculosis services including Faith based, Tertiary, Secondary as well as primary healthcare centres.
6. Diabetes Mellitus
The 6th position in the ladder of world’s most deadly diseases belongs to Diabetes Mellitus.
Diabetes Mellitus is persistent high level of sugar in the blood; it can be type 1 or type 2. Type 1 is found in the young (children/teenagers) and due to heredity in most cases; the person does not produce insulin. Type 2 is found in adults and is due mainly to resistance to insulin or low level of insulin production.Untreated or poorly treated diabetes especially Type 2 has well known complications; diabetes is a major cause of stroke, kidney failure, blindness, lower limb amputation and heart attack. These complications can be reduced by adequate control of the condition, regular check-up and prompt treatment of any complications as they arise.
According to the World Health Organization, about 422 people had diabetes mellitus in 2014 from 108 million in1980. In 2014 about 8.5 percent of persons over 18 years of age had diabetes worldwide and in 2012 the disease was directly responsible for about 1.5 million deaths globally. The World Health Organization believes this will continue to rise in the years ahead.
5. Respiratory Tract Cancers
Respiratory tract cancers take the fifth position.
The respiratory tract cancers include cancer of the trachea, cancer of the bronchi and cancer of the lungs; of the three, lung cancer is the most deadly and in fact, lung cancer is responsible the greatest number of deaths from cancer; in 2012, it accounted for about 1.6 million deaths, about 2.9 percent of all deaths globally.
4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the fourth most deadly disease worldwide.
It is a disorder characterized by obstruction of airflow through the bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli of the lungs due to chronic bronchitis or emphysema. The person affected finds it hard to breathe. Men and women are affected equally; a prominent risk factor is exposure to in-door pollution such as cooking or heating smoke.
The condition occurs globally, in high-income, middle-income and low-income countries, however according to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost 90 percent of the deaths from the disease occur in the low-income and middle-income countries. WHO ‘s estimate put the total deaths from the disease in 2005 at 3 million (about 5 percent of all deaths) with about 65 million people affected globally.
3. Lower Respiratory Diseases
The lower respiratory tract diseases group occupies the third position on the list of world’s most deadly diseases.
The Lower Respiratory Tract Diseases group includes Pneumonia, Acute bronchitis and Lung abscess; of these, Pneumonia is the worst. In 2013, there were about 150 million cases of the diseases with about 3.1 million deaths globally; about 5.5 percent of total deaths in the world.
Pneumonia is most deadly in the extremes of life; under 5 years of age and after 65 years.
Stroke is number 2
Stroke is the second most deadly disease condition globally; it is a condition which occurs when a blood vessel which supplies oxygenated blood to the brain ruptures or becomes blocked. If any of the two happens the brain cells in the part of the brain affected die within minutes.
Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, high blood cholesterol and lack of physical activity.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stroke accounted for 6.7 million deaths globally in 2012, just behind the trophy holder.
1. Coronary Heart Disease
The trophy holder is Coronary Heart Disease
The most deadly disease in the world today is Coronary heart Disease or Coronary Artery Disease or Ischaemic Heart Disease. The heart is supplied blood by two blood vessels; the right coronary artery and the left coronary artery. The two arteries supply the whole heart including the muscles by dividing into several branches.
If any of the blood vessels supplying the heart becomes narrow or blocked, heart attack or Ischaemic heart disease reults. According to the World Health Organization, Ischaemic heart disease accounted for about 7.4 million deaths globally in 2012 making it the number one killer.
Risk factors for Coronary heart disease include high blood pressure, obesity, unhealthy diet, smoking, high blood cholesterol and lack of physical activity.