February 4: Leading causes of death globally

Of the 55.4 million deaths across the world in 2019, the top 10 causes of death accounted for 55% of them.

Source: World Health Organization
Published: December 2020

Leading causes of death globally

In 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote, “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Today, the fact focuses on the morbid topic of death.

Of the 55.4 million deaths across the world in 2019, the top 10 causes of death accounted for 55% of them. While 2020 will likely change the order of this list due to COVID-19, in 2019 the leading causes of death globally were mainly from noncommunicable diseases (that cannot be spread from person to person).

1. Ischemic Heart Disease. Caused by narrow heart arteries - includes death by a heart attack.
2. Stroke. Caused by a blocked artery or burst blood vessel.
3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD causes airflow issues in the lungs.
4. Lower Respiratory Infections. Includes pneumonia and bronchitis.
5. Neonatal Conditions. Occur during the first month of life, including premature birth.
6. Cancer in the Lungs, Trachea, or Bronchus. Often caused by smoking.
7. Dementia. Including Alzheimer’s Disease.
8. Diarrhoeal Diseases. Often due to the dehydration caused by severe diarrhea.
9. Diabetes. Can cause cardiovascular and other issues.
10. Kidney Diseases. Often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure.

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