Hypertension And Smoking Top List Of Global Risk Factors 1

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 2.57.27 PMWorldwide, hypertension and tobacco smoking are the single largest causes of death and disability, according to findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010), the largest ever assessment and analysis of global health and disease. In an unprecedented move, the Lancet devoted an entire issue to the study, including seven separate articles and eight comments.

GBD 2010 was led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. In a press release, IHME director Chris Murray said, “For decision-makers, health-sector leaders, researchers, and informed citizens, the global burden of disease approach provides an opportunity to see the big picture, to compare diseases, injuries, and risk factors, and to understand in a given place, time, and age-sex group, what are the most important contributors to health loss.”

Despite significant reductions in the rate of ischemic heart disease and stroke since 1990, overall these retained their position as the #1 and #2 worldwide causes of death. Among men 15-49 years of age, CV disease was the single largest cause of death, accounting for 12.8% of all deaths. For women of the same age CV disease was the third largest cause of death, following HIV/AIDS and other non-communicable diseases, accounting for 10.7% of all deaths.

Ischemic heart disease in 2010 now ranks as the largest single cause of global years of life lost. In 1990 it had ranked fourth, behind lower respiratory infections, diarrhea, and preterm birth complications. Stroke moved from fifth place to third place.

High blood pressure emerged as the single most important risk factor for death and disability, followed by tobacco smoking. In 1990 the top two risk factors were childhood underweight (#8 in 2010) and household pollution (#4 in 2010).

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