Noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes are now the leading causes of death in the world, in a dramatic change from two decades ago.
They now make up seven of the top 10 causes of death, an increase from four out of 10 in 2000, with heart disease the biggest killer – accounting for 16% of all deaths.
According to estimates published today by the World Health Organization (WHO), Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are now among the top 10 causes of death, while deaths from diabetes increased 70% globally between 2000 and 2019.
The new figures show the need for intensified focus on preventing and treating cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, said the WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “These new estimates are another reminder that we need to rapidly step up prevention, diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases,” he said.