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Times Of India
14 Dec 2012
New Delhi, India.

Even as one in four deaths worldwide in 2010 was caused by heart disease or stroke – the top two killers that have remained constant for the past 40 years – human mortality caused by climate change has shown the most dangerous spurt over the last four decades.

The Global Burden of Disease Study, 2010, published by British medical journal Lancet on Thursday, shows that there has been a 523% increase in mortality due to "exposure to forces of nature" – the highest among 235 causes of death. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, thanks to aging populations across the world, also saw a massive increase since 1970 by almost 245%.

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Mortality due to Parkinson’s disease rose by over 107%. Men died the most of cardiovascular disease (12.8%), with road injuries and HIV being the second biggest killers at 10.7%. Interestingly, HIV became the biggest killer of women at 14.4% in 2010, with cardiovascular diseases accounting for nearly 11% of all deaths.

The study found that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lower respiratory infections and lung cancer make up the top five killers for 2010. Deaths due to HIV have made the largest jump – from the 35th worst killer in 1970 to 6th in 2010. Mortality due to falls, ranked 30th in 1970, jumped to 22nd in 2010 while liver cancer rose from the 24th slot to 16th. Chronic kidney disease was found to be the 18th deadliest killer as against 27th in 1970.

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Diarrhoea, road injury, diabetes, tuberculosis and malaria figured in the list of top 11 killers in 2010, followed by cirrhosis, self-harm, hypertensive heart disease and preterm birth complications.

In absolute numbers, ischaemic heart disease and stroke collectively caused 12.9 million deaths in 2010 compared to one in five of all deaths in 1990 (9.9 million deaths).

In 2010, there were 52.8 million deaths globally. Noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases accounted for nearly two out of every three deaths worldwide in 2010, compared to around one in two of all deaths in 1990.

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