The top 10 causes of death || The 10 most common causes of death around the world

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) in 2019, the top 10 causes of death accounted for 55% of the 55.4 million deaths worldwide. 

Three broad topics of such diseases are:

  1.  Cardiovascular (ischaemic heart disease, stroke)

  2.  Respiratory (COPD, lower respiratory infections)

  3.  Neonatal conditions (birth asphyxia and birth trauma, neonatal sepsis and infections, and preterm           birth complications)

WHO grouped the causes of death into three categories:

  1.  Communicable (infectious and parasitic diseases and maternal, perinatal, and nutritional conditions)                  

  2.  Noncommunicable (chronic)

  3.  Injuries


1.  Ischemic heart disease (non-communicable)

  2.  Stroke (noncommunicable)

  3.  COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) (noncommunicable)

  4.  Lower respiratory infection (communicable)

  5.  Neonatal condition (communicable)

  6.  Trachea, bronchus, lung cancer (noncommunicable)

  7.  Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (noncommunicable)

  8.  Diarrhoeal diseases (communicable)

  9.  Diabetes Mellitus (noncommunicable)

 10.  Kidney diseases (noncommunicable)

ISCHAEMIC HEART DISEASE (˜8 million deaths)

Ischemic heart disease / Ischemia/ myocardial ischemia is characterized by reduced blood supply of the heart muscle which causes partial chest pain or discomfort. The world’s biggest killer is ischaemic heart disease. It is responsible for 16% of the world’s total deaths.


Lower respiratory tract infections are infections in the lungs or below the voice box. Eg. pneumonia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis. Lower respiratory infections are ranked as the 4th leading cause of death.

NEONATAL CONDITIONS (2 million deaths)

Among many neonatal conditions, these were identified as major contributors to the global burden of disease.:-

             a.   Premature birth

             b.   Neonatal infections

             c.   Birth asphyxia

***Neonatal conditions are ranked 5th.***


A bronchial adenoma is a rare type of cancer. It starts in the mucous glands and ducts of the lung airways (bronchi) or windpipe (trachea), and in the salivary glands. Most bronchial adenomas are cancer and can spread to other parts of the body. Deaths from non-communicable diseases are on the rise. It ranked 6th among the leading causes of death.

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE (˜1.7 – 1.8 million deaths)

A progressive disease in which the brain cell connections and the cells themselves degenerate and die, that results in destroying memory and other important mental functions.

According to the WHO, it is ranked as the 7th leading cause of death. Women are disproportionately affected. Globally, 65% of deaths from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are women.

DIARRHOEAL DISEASES (1.5 million deaths)

This is a condition in which loose, watery stools occur more frequently than usual.

Diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old. It is both preventable and treatable.

DIABETES (˜1.5 million deaths)

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough of the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Hyperglycaemia, or elevated blood sugar, is a common effect of diabetes that eventually leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. Diabetes has entered the top 10 causes of death.

KIDNEY DISEASES (1.3 million deaths)

There are many health conditions that can damage your kidneys and lead to CKD (chronic kidney disease) and ESRD (end-stage renal disease).

          a)  Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)

          b) Lupus nephritis

          c)  Kidney cancer

          d) Rare diseases

Kidney diseases are one of the top 10 causes of death.