One of the very famous quotes of George Burns (1896-1996) "Death is not popular, it is not good for the complexion, and it leaves you with too much time on your hands". There are more than 1,00,000 diseases on earth to cause the status change from alive to death. The most common and dangerous causes of death are heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
What Are the Common Causes of Human Death?
Following are the top causes of death in humans, listed in the decreasing order of the number of deaths caused by them.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Lung infections - Influenza or Pneumonia.
Septicemias (infection in the blood).
One can live longer lives by defending themselves against these diseases. It is one’s choice to live a healthier and disease-free, quality life. Some of the diseases have unpreventable risks like genetics. But many of the below-mentioned diseases have preventable risks that everyone should know about.
1. Heart Disease:
One of the major causes of death in humans and has the following associated risk factors:
Hypertension (high blood pressure), deranged lipid profile (high cholesterol levels), sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity, tobacco consumption, substandard diet plans, age of the person, and gender.
In general, every cell in the human body divides and multiplies, but in a controlled fashion and under the very tight genetic control of the body on DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and the human genome. When there is damage to the human genome (DNA), it may result in cancer. The body has a mechanism for repairing the damage caused to the normal body cells, but it cannot repair the DNA damage in the cancer cells. Some people get genetic mutations unfortunately from their parents. But most people unwisely welcome cancer mutations through poor lifestyles. The major risk factors for cancer are:
High BMI (higher weight than recommended for age and height).
Lack of exercise.
An improper diet with a lack of addition of fruits, salads, and vegetables in a regular diet.
Fatty food consumption includes fried, junk, and fast foods.
Consuming more than one alcoholic beverage a day (medical science recommends drinking no alcohol at all).
A stroke occurs when the brain loses the blood supply and in life-threatening and serious cases, it may cause permanent disability due to irreversible damage caused to the brain tissues. Major risk factors for stroke: hypertension, deranged lipid profile, tobacco consumption, lack of physical activity, substandard diet, and age of the person. The risk of getting a stroke becomes two fold every 10 years added to life after the 50s, stroke also runs in families (genetic). Other risk factors are females on birth control pills, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, alcohol consumption, and a history of heart disorders or stroke in the past. Females are more prone to stroke than men. Studies show that Africans are at more risk than the rest of the world.
Major alarming signs and symptoms of the stroke:
Issues with the balance of the body (feeling dizzy, problems with walking, loss of balance, and coordination in movement).
4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):
The lungs are badly damaged in patients with COPD and the major risk factor is tobacco combustion (which accounts for almost all cases of COPD). Other causes include environmental pollution, respiratory infections in the past life, and occupational exposure hazards from industries. Some causes occur due to genetic causes in which there is a genetic deficiency of alpha 1 antitrypsin.
Road traffic accidents are one of the preventable causes of death all over the world. Major risk factors for accidents are age, alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, body coordination issues, physical disabilities of vision or hearing, not abiding by the state laws when on the road, avoiding seat belt usage, rough driving on hazardous roads, fatigue, bad lighting due to fog or motor vehicles having issues with their lighting and individuals on antidepressant medications.
6. Diabetes Mellitus (DM):
Diabetes is a debilitating disease. It is caused either due to the total loss of insulin production by the body (Type I DM) or due to partial loss of insulin production and insensitivity of the insulin receptors on the peripheral receptors (Type II DM). Major risk factors for getting diabetes mellitus are heart and brain disorders like strokes, kidney diseases, high blood pressure, obesity, family history, no physical activity, low good cholesterol (HDL), high bad cholesterol (LDL), abnormally high triglyceride levels, vascular disease history, gestational diabetes when pregnant, mothers delivering babies weighing greater than nine pounds and age above 40-45 years.
Bad effects of diabetes on the human body:
Pneumonia is an infectious disease where bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens may cause inflammation of the lungs. It attacks people with compromised immune systems (young, elderly, and people with other diseases that have lowered immunity to diseases).
The major risk factors for influenza and pneumonia: Tobacco consumption, extremes of age, lowered immunity, chronic illnesses (heart diseases, liver diseases, diabetes, lung diseases, cancers), blood disorders like sickle cell anemia (inherited blood disorder), surgically removed spleen (splenectomy), lack of exercise and lower body's resistance to diseases.
8. Alzheimer's Disease (AD):
It is a brain disorder that has an insidious onset and impairs the memory and intellectual abilities of the patient. Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease are over the age of sixty, genetics, head injury in the past that may have caused brain trauma, gender (Alzheimer's is more prevalent in females than males), Down syndrome (the early aging of Down syndrome brain), heart disease, diabetes mellitus, diet deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids and high in omega-6 fatty acids. Lack of antioxidant foods, dry fruits, vegetables, and salads in diet, high BMI, sedentary lifestyle, large amounts of saturated fats in food, hypertension, and deranged lipid profile.
9. Kidney Disorders:
One needs a healthy kidney for the whole body to function normally. It is very important to take care of the diet and habits to save the kidneys from diseases. Western diet is a major load on the kidneys, overwhelming the kidney's excretory systems and damaging them.
Major risk factors for kidney disease are diabetes and hypertension, high cholesterol, fluid and electrolyte imbalances, hormonal imbalances, mineral imbalance in the body, bone disorders, and heart diseases that compromise the blood supply of the kidneys.
This condition occurs anywhere in the body starting as a local infection by the pathogens, mainly bacteria, then spreading to the bloodstream and causing devastating effects on the whole body.
Major risk factors for septicemia: Extremes of age (young and older people), weak immune system, burns, physical trauma and wounds, abscess and cellulitis, intravenous catheterizations like the central venous line for parenteral nutrition in hospitalized patients, urinary tract catheters, abdominal drains, chest tubes, unvaccinated individuals are at greater risk, hospitalized patients, and organ transplant patients on chemotherapy for cancer treatments.
A proper diet and healthy lifestyle is the key to disease-free life. In this modern life, every individual is so busy and is unable to keep pace with time and keep a check on diseases in the initial stages. One should regularly consult their physician to identify the risk factors in the earlier stages.
Frequently Asked Questions