Home News Heart disease to become the world’s biggest killer

Heart disease to become the world’s biggest killer

Published on 21/05/2008

21 May 2008

GENEVA – More people are set to die from heart disease, cancer and road traffic accidents rather than transmittable diseases in the next 25 years, according to new data published Tuesday.

The global burden of disease would shift from infectious diseases, such as diarrhoea, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, to non-communicable diseases that would cause 75 per cent of deaths in 2030.

The World Health Statistics study, compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) from information received from its 193 member states, said there would be a significant change as populations aged in middle and low income countries.

Globally deaths from cardiovascular diseases would rise from 17.1 million in 2004 to 23.4 million in 2030, cancer deaths would increase from 7.4 million to 11.8 million in the same period. Deaths from road traffic accidents would rise from 1.3 million to 2.4 million, again in the same period, mainly due to more people owning cars.

"We are definitely seeing a trend towards fewer people dying of infectious diseases across the world," said the head of health statistics for WHO Dr Ties Boerma.

"We tend to associate developing countries with infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria but in more and more countries the chief causes of death are non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke," he added.

The increase in deaths from non-communicable diseases would be accompanied by a fall in mortality for the main communicable diseases.

However deaths worldwide from HIV/AIDS were expected to rise from 2.2 million in 2008 to a maximum of 2.4 million in 2012 before falling to 1.2 million in 2030.

[dpa / Expatica]