Ischemic Heart Disease remains the world’s biggest killer according to this year’s Lancet Global Burden of Disease report - with poor diets now being responsible for one in five deaths globally, as the burden of lifestyle related diseases continues to rise.
Annually the condition is now believed to be responsible for 9.48 million deaths, with a diet low in fruit, nuts, wholegrains and fish oils being increasingly common. That also goes some way to explaining why diabetes rates are also on the increase, with 1.43 million deaths last year coming as a result of the condition.
Poor diets weren’t the only lifestyle factor with a powerful influence on the figures, tobacco was pinpointed as being the single biggest lifestyle related killer globally - with in excess of seven million deaths being caused by the substance, highlighting just how big the battle to reduce smoking rates remains.
The number of deaths from violence, conflict and terrorism has also shown a notable growth over the past decade - with figures now topping 150,000 in a year for the first time.
Despite the negatives, the report has highlighted areas of improvement. Overall rates of infectious diseases have decreased - despite conditions such as Dengue actually showing a rise. HIV/AIDS rates have continued to drop too, with the report commenting on “significant progress” made in the battle with the conditions - despite more than a million people still losing their life as a result of them annually.
Global life expectancy has also shown a rise, with the average now sitting at 75.3 years for women, and 69.8 for men. Japan continues to have the world’s highest expectancy (at a gender combined average of 83.9 years), whilst the Central African Republic now has the lowest, at just over 50 years.
The Lancet’s report always makes for fascinating reading, and this year more than ever it highlights the range of self-inflicted health issues that are having a significant impact on the world’s population. Onus is now on medical experts to attempt to try and further educate people of the benefits a lifestyle change could bring.