Posted by Elena del Valle on June 6, 2012
H1N1 3D graphic representation of a generic influenza virion’s ultrastructure
Illustration, graph: Dan Higgins, CDC
In spite of all the commotion around exotic diseases like the West Nile Virus, H1N1 flu, salmonella and others that have received extensive media coverage infectious diseases account for a fraction of deaths in the United States. Sellers of funeral services, insurance, health care or end of life related products may be interested to know that world wide 56 million people die every year many from cardiac disease or cancer. Those two causes of death accounted for more than half (63 percent) of all deaths in 2008, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the United States, about half of the adult population has a chronic condition like diabetes. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease and Control Prevention), the top five causes of death in 2009 were heart disease (599,413), cancer (567,628), chronic lower respiratory diseases (137,353), stroke (128,842), and accidents (118,021).
In 2008, 139,241 Hispanics died; the top 10 causes of death for Hispanics in Health, United States, 2011 (Table 26) , the most recent CDC report, were: diseases of heart (28,951), malignant neoplasms (28,851), unintentional injuries (11,080), cerebrovascular diseases (7,121), Diabetes mellitus (6,544), chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (4,091), chronic lower respiratory diseases (3,949), homicide (3,331), influenza and pneumonia (3,176), and Alzheimer’s disease (3,005).
In OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, (the United States is an OECD member) nearly one quarter of the population (22 percent) will be 65 years old or older by 2030. In contrast young people in developing countries are more likely to die from infectious diseases. If they survive into middle age the common killers, cancer or cardiac disease, become the more likely causes of death.