The global healthcare system over the past few decades has transformed exponentially. Today we are living twice as long as our ancestors have lived before. Infrastructure development, technological advancements (such as accurate diagnosis and lesser medical errors), public-private partnerships in healthcare, availability of antibiotics to treat contagious diseases, quality of training to healthcare professionals, modern surgery, and several other advancements have had a huge impact on the healthcare system, consequently contributing to an increase in the life expectancy since past few decades.
The technology no doubt has made our lives comfortable, but we cannot deny the fact that it is making us lazy. As per the WHO, “around 60 to 85% of people in the world from both developed and developing countries lead to sedentary lifestyles, making it one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time”. Inactive or sedentary lifestyles over the past few years have increased the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lipid disorders, high blood pressure, and many others. As per the CDC, out of 10, every 6th adult has a chronic disease while 4 in 10 have two or more chronic disease.
In 2016, around 56.9 million people lost their lives worldwide due to top 10 diseases. The majority of these deaths (nearly two-third) are related to chronic disease such Ischemic heart disease/coronary artery disease (stroke), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes etc. In terms of the total number of death here some of the leading diseases:
Ischemic Heart Disease/Coronary Artery Disease
The Ischaemic heart disease and stroke accounts for the highest number of deaths worldwide. In 2016, around 15.2 million deaths (which is almost one fourth of the total death) took place due to the Ischaemic heart disease and stroke.
Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) builds up a waxy substance called plaque (plak) inside blood vessels, which reduces blood supply. IHD affects the coronary arteries in the heart. Due to reduced blood rich oxygen heart attack or angina may occur. Smoking, sedentary lifestyle, insulin resistance or diabetes, high blood pressure, and a higher amounts of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood are the risk factor for the Ischemic heart disease
For the last 15 years, Ischemic heart disease/coronary artery disease are the leading cause of death worldwide.
The crude death rate for Ischaemic heart disease is around 126 per 100,000 population while for stroke it is around 77 per 100,000 population worldwide. In the United States, in 2017, around 647,457 deaths which is around (23.5% of total deaths) occur due to Heart disease.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the third leading cause of death worldwide after Ischemic heart disease and stroke. As per WHO, in 2016, around 3.0 million people lost their lives due to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. During the year 2014-2015 there were 146,412 death cases in the United State due to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Genetics (called Alpha-1 deficiency), exposure to dusts and chemicals or fumes from burning fuel, asthma, exposure to tobacco smoke are some of the risk factors for Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD accounting for about 85 to 90 percent of all COPD cases. As per the CDC, in the US, “8 out of 10 COPD-related deaths are due to smoking and 38% of the nearly 16 million U.S. adults diagnosed with COPD reported recent smoking”.
Lower Respiratory Infections
The lower respiratory infections is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide and also the one of the top most communicable diseases. The African region has a significant higher death rate due to Lower respiratory infections as compared to other regions of the world. In 2016, lower respiratory infections caused around 3.0 million deaths with the crude death rate of 40 per 100,000 population worldwide. The Lower respiratory infections include a wide range of diseases such as tuberculosis, influenza, bronchitis, pneumonia and others. The LRI diseases mainly occur due to flu or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), fungal infections, mycoplasma, and bacteria. The leading factors for lower respiratory tract infection involves being overage (above 65 years old), underage ( below 5 years age), weak immune system, recent surgery, and many others. Apart from these factors smoking also significantly increases the risk for developing the Lower respiratory infections conditions.
Dementia and Alzheimers
Over the period of 16 years (i.e between 2000 to 2016), the deaths due to Dementia and Alzheimer had almost doubled. In 2016, there were nearly 2 Million deaths due to Alzheimer and other dementia related diseases. Alzheimer’s which accounts for nearly 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases, is a progressive disease that interrupts the normal functioning of the brain. As per CDC, in the US, nearly 5 million people are estimated to be affected with Alzheimer, the projection is estimated to rise to 14 million by 2050.
The death rate due to Alzheimer is a serious concern as the death cases are significantly increasing over the short period of time as compared to other diseases. In the US between 1999 to 2014, the death rate due to Alzheimer’s disease has increased by 55%. While, in the UK, in 2018, dementia is responsible for around 12.8 percent of all death.
Trachea, Bronchus and Lung cancers
In 2016, nearly 1.7 million people died due to Trachea, Bronchus and Lung cancers. The crude death rate for Trachea, Bronchus and Lung cancers is around 23 per 100,000 population globally. Smoking, secondhand smoke, diet, family history of lung cancer, radiation therapy to the chest and exposure to substances such as asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust are major risk factors for lung cancer. The lung cancer can further be divided into small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. NSCLC accounts for about 85% of lung cancers, while the SCLC comprises around 10-15%. In the United states, in 2018, around 154,050 people died from lung cancer, which is nearly 25% of the deaths due to cancer. Worldwide males are found to be more likely affected by Trachea, Bronchus and Lung cancers as compared to women.
Apart from the above mentioned disease some of the other leading diseases that caused higher deaths include Diabetes (1.6 million deaths), Diarrheal Diseases (1.4 million deaths), and Tuberculosis (1.3 million deaths). The death due to diarrheal diseases has reduced by nearly one million between 2000 and 2016. The same trend has also been observed for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. While in the case of Diabetes, the scenario is quite opposite. Between 2000 to 2016 a 5% increase in premature mortality has been observed due to Diabetes, which is as serious cause of concern as Diabetes gives rise to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and many other conditions.
The country’s economic status also has a direct impact on the number of deaths. In the low income group (or developing countries) the majority of deaths are due to communicable diseases, nutrition, maternal, or other pregnancy and childbirth related conditions.
In the developing countries the lack of proper planning, population burden, costs of healthcare services, effective management of healthcare resources and processes are some of the factors that are still required to overcome to provide better healthcare services.
In the coming years mobile healthcare healthcare delivery system, augmented reality training, wearable devices in healthcare, and personalized medicine are expected to further transform the healthcare industry in both developing and developed countries.