Covid-19 doesn’t seem to be abating anytime soon, and the world is increasingly panicking. Masks and hand sanitizers are at an all-time low, and people seem to be stocking up on everything from dried goods to toilet paper. In other words, it looks like pandemonium. While there’s no denying the widespread occurrence of Covid-19, there are other causes of death that take far more lives, yet no one talks about them enough. Do all you can to preserve health, hygiene and immunity, but perhaps we should also take a look at other things that kill us, especially when they could be prevented.
1) Cardiovascular Diseases
Estimated mortality rate worldwide yearly: 17.9 million
Otherwise known as CVD, cardiovascular disease is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. In fact, CVD is the number 1 killer globally. CVD is usually associated with atherosclerosis, the build-up of fat deposits inside the arteries. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to CVD, including high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol levels, diabetes and obesity just to name a few. In other words, CVD can often be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a balanced diet and active lifestyle can reduce the risk of CVD.
Estimated mortality rate worldwide yearly: 8 million
Out of 8 million, more than 7 million deaths are directly associated with tobacco use. The remaining 1 million or so? They’re non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. We’re not quite sure why the fact that smoking does kill hasn’t latched on yet, especially when it kills surrounding people as well, but it’s the leading preventable death cause. Unfortunately, the number of smokers – and deaths caused by smoking – continues to rise, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Mortality rate worldwide in 2018: 9.6 million
Cancer is brought on by accumulated damage to genes, and while there’s no single cause, an unhealthy lifestyle is thought to be the single greatest contributing factor. In fact, in relation to the above item, tobacco use is the most important risk factor, and is responsible about 22% of cancer deaths. Besides that, low fruit-and-vege intake, alcohol consumption and a sedentary lifestyle are also contributing factors. The most common cause of cancer death? Lung cancer.
4) Road Accidents
Mortality rate worldwide in 2016: 1.35 million
Unluckily for us, Malaysia also had the third highest death rate for road accidents in the same year – 7152 deaths. And 80.6% of these deaths were caused by human error. According to a WHO in 2016, only 28 countries have adequate laws that address all five risk factors for road usage: speed, drunk driving, helmets, seatbelts and child restraints. A lot of us still don’t strap in, especially in the back seat, and we continue to see children being placed on the adult drivers’ laps. Apparently, we’re still taking road accidents lightly even if it’s killing us at an alarming rate.
Estimated mortality rate worldwide yearly: 800,000
That’s 1 person who dies from suicide every 40 seconds. And that’s not even the whole picture, as statistics show that there are more suicide attempts than completed suicides. In 2019, a WHO report also stated suicide as the third leading cause of death in 15-19 year-olds. Unsurprisingly, depression is the main cause of suicide, though there are several other triggers as well. “Mental health” still isn’t a “thing” despite so much advocating, and most of us aren’t exposed enough to know what exactly a healthy state of mind entails, where to seek help and that it’s okay to seek help – all before it gets too much.
Mortality rate worldwide in 2016: 1.6 million
There are two types of diabetes, and type 1 is actually quite rare. Type 2 diabetes is more common, and it’s when the body becomes resistant to insulin, or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. Insulin regulates blood sugar levels, and sugar builds up in the bloodstream without a proper amount of insulin. If left untreated or in serious cases, it could lead to other severe health problems, including CVD, kidney failure and amputation of a limb. Triggered by diet and lifestyle factors, diabetes is preventable by again, maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Covid-19 may be the problem now, but all these other things have been a problem for a long time. While everyone’s scrambling to get rid of/prevent Covid-19, what about these? Maybe it’s time to think about this instead of buying all the toilet paper?