For the past few years, people have been dying for causes and risk factors that can be modified.
In a new research conducted by the University of Washington with Dr. Mohammad Hossein Forouzanfar as the lead author, at least 30 million people have died around the globe in 2013, a huge increase from no more than 26 million in 1990, due to modifiable factors such as hypertension, smoking, and a bad diet.
For the team's research, they used the information found in Global Burden of Disease Study, participated by more than 180 countries. Using their predetermined modifiable risk factors, they then determined the deaths and related disabilities.
Based on the results, hypertension is one of the most serious modifiable risks with an increase of 50% deaths from 1990 to 2013. Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is considered as a silent killer since people can be asymptomatic for many years. An uncontrolled blood pressure, it can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, and even brain hemorrhage as blood vessels in the brain rupture.
Although hypertension can occur in both men and women, the study reported that it could affect more males. Men were also more likely to feel the negative impact on health of smoking, which came up as the second leading risk.
The high body mass index (BMI), which is a common and significant factor associated with obesity, was linked to more than 60% increased deaths within the same period. Obesity or excessive weight increases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and certain types of cancer such as colon. Unlike smoking and hypertension, a high BMI affects more women than men. Eating a diet that's high in processed food, sugar, sodium, and red meat increased deaths by as much as 20% in 2013.
Although malnutrition remains to be the biggest problem among children especially in developed countries, overall, the study highlighted the significant shift of the common causes of global deaths. It suggested that if the previous years were all about deprivation such as poor sanitation or lack of water, the recent ones were about excesses.
The study is now available in Lancet.