This article is about the frequency with which vascular diseases kill mankind. It looks at Global, American a Australian data for trends. It is written by a Nurse of 20 yeaars experience.
Thousands of people die from diseases which are preventable and curable. This needless waste of human life is both sad and difficult to understand given the fact that the economic growth has tripled in the last two decades.
Figure 1: Ischemic Heart Disease is the number one killer globally.
The number one killer, globally, is ischemic heart disease. The good news is that it is being defeated. Many patients with heart attacks are surviving to tell their story, the frequency of heart attacks is on a downward trend, and society is “listening” to research by consuming less cholesterol. The consumption of cigarettes , in western countries is down but is increasing in developing economies. More and more individuals get annual check ups and do exercise regularly. Statistics show that life expectancy is increasing too. An examination of figures published by the world health organization (2003) show that more than seven million people die of Ischemic heart disease, in the US alone close to one million people die prematurely of heart diseases. This is shown in table 2 (below).
Table 1. All countries Causes of Total deaths
|Ischemic heart disease||7,208,000|
|Lower respiratory infections||3,884,000|
|Chronic obstructive lung diseases||2,748,000|
Source: The World Health Report, 2003, The World Health Organization (WHO)
The second major killer is ischaemic diseases of the brain. This is again related and partially caused by hypertension, high cholesterol, cigerattes and reduced exercise. It is hoped that with improved management of blood cholesterol the frequency of CVAs will decrease and there will be a corresponding increase in life expectancy.
The other major killers are chronic respiratory diseases, cancers, HIV and TB. The incidence of HIV is rising in developing economies, so is the survival period after infection. This is mainly due to the fact that newer treatment strategies are working and the new anti-viral medications are more effective. However, the development of an effective vaccination program is still not in sight. This could be due to the fact that people with aids have not been able to organize themselves effectively. This is not surprising because they do not live long to be able to develop an effective network before they die.
Table 3 shows the mortality figures for Australia. The major killers are the same. The problem with Australian figures is that they are not broken down by economic status. If this was done the figures would show that Indigenous people suffer from third world country conditions. A fair amount is being done but the political courage is lacking in the present political administration. (This is a personal view).