Forecast of causes of death in high-income countries by 2030. By the end of the 19th century, more than a third of all deaths were caused by smallpox, measles, cholera, tuberculosis, and diphtheria. In modern times, things have changed.
There aren't many things guaranteed to you in life. According to the common expression popular in Europe, only death and taxes are inevitable. However, with all the inevitability of death, its causes are constantly changing, and those diseases that are now perceived as a death sentence will not necessarily retain their ominous status in a few years.
A hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the scourge of mankind. By the end of the 19th century, more than a third of all deaths were caused by smallpox, measles, cholera, tuberculosis, and diphtheria.
Today, thanks to the development of medicine, as well as, to a large extent, the spread of vaccination, the number of infectious diseases has significantly decreased. And mankind managed to get rid of smallpox forever.
This fact had a significant impact on life expectancy. If earlier more than a third of all deaths occurred in people under the age of 60, today one person in ten dies before the age of 60.
But in connection with such "aging" of humanity, chronic diseases have come to the fore. Today, half of all deaths are associated with heart disease and cancer.
"Apocalypse" of common infections
What will be next? It is very difficult to make accurate predictions. For example, after the smallpox vaccine was invented, a new threat emerged - the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV.
Today, one of the serious problems is the human body's immunity to certain types of drugs.
Professor Sally Davis speaks of the "apocalyptic" situation in which common infections become the cause of death simply because antibiotics are no longer as effective as they used to be.
Another threat could be global warming. If it continues, the spread of tropical diseases exotic for Europe is possible.
A report published in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases suggests that rising average temperatures in the UK could create conditions suitable for the reproduction and life of mosquitoes, the main disease vectors in tropical climates. And then, according to the researchers, all tropical diseases such as dengue and West Nile virus will spread across Europe in a few decades.
But while all of the above only requires precautions, perhaps the WHO research program Global Burden of Disease will inform us about the new danger most accurately.
A WHO study has been tracking causes of death since 1990 and, on this basis, predicts future causes of death.
Forecast of causes of death in high-income countries by 2030 (line in the ranking in 2000 is shown in parentheses)
1. Cardiovascular disease (1) 12.1%
2. Stroke (2) 7.6%
3. Senile dementia (8) 6.4%
4. Cancer of the lungs and respiratory tract (3) 5.5%
5. Lower respiratory tract infections (4) 4.6%
6. Lung disease (5) 3.9%
7. Bowel cancer (6) 3.5%
8. Diabetes (7) 3.0%
9. High blood pressure (13) 2.2%
10. Kidney disease (15) 2.2%
Perhaps the most noticeable change is associated with a sharp jump up in the dementia table (from 8th to 3rd place). Rising life expectancy means that the number of cases of dementia is also on the rise.
Years of illness
All of these changes led to another dilemma: an increase in the duration of the illness. If infectious diseases took lives very quickly, then chronic diseases entail long years of life with poor health.
Research published by Public Health England shows that while overall life expectancy has been increasing in the past twenty years, life expectancy in good health is no longer increasing as rapidly.
Smoking affects the health of people most of all, followed by overweight, a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet.
The result of this was that, on average, a fifth of a person's life spends in the fight against disease - such figures are given by the British State Statistics Committee.
So it is quite obvious that if you are prone to bad habits, then to the inevitability of death, you can easily add the inevitability of fighting disease.