Cancer the top cause of death in high income nations

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Hypertension is the largest risk factor for CVD in low-income countries (which include India), followed by high non-HDL cholesterol and household air pollution.

A second report focused on why people around the world continue to die in great numbers from heart disease.

Cancer is now the leading cause of death in high-income countries, while cardiovascular disease is still the biggest killer in poorer nations.

The diseases were responsible for 30 per cent of deaths in middle-income nations and 15 per cent in the poorer ones, the study claimed.

A second study, also by researchers in Canada, and looking at data from patients in the same 21 countries, found that so-called "modifiable risk factors" accounted for 70 percent of heart disease cases globally.

Heart disease is the second most common cause of death in the United Kingdom, officially accounting for 10.3 per cent of deaths in 2018, second only to dementia. The study noted that there was no accurate estimate for earnings for Palestine, which was among the many countries included.

"The high rates of cardiovascular disease and related mortality in low-income countries are likely related to gaps in access to, or availability of, healthcare".

"As cardiovascular disease declines in many countries, cancer mortality is likely to become the leading cause of death in the future", he added.

The world is slowly seeing cancer surpass heart problems as the main reason for death among middle-aged adults in several countries, according to a new study.

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Researchers also found that with higher country income, a higher proportion of deaths and hospitalisations were from non-communicable diseases compared to infectious diseases.

Poor countries saw heart disease causing the most deaths (41 per cent), while wealthier middle-income (41 per cent) and high-income (23 per cent) were less affected by it.

The American Heart Association has more on heart disease.

'The fact that cancer deaths are now twice as frequent as cardiovascular disease [CVD] deaths in high-income countries indicates a transition in the predominant causes of death in middle age, ' said Professor Salim Yusuf.

The good news: 70 percent of the factors driving heart disease and heart disease death are "modifiable", meaning changes to lifestyle and environment can greatly lessen people's risk.

'We know that being overweight or obese is a cause of at least 12 different types of cancer and obesity rates are increasing globally. Low-income countries included: Tanzania, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe.

Despite including as many as 21 countries, the researchers said to exercise caution in generalizing the results to all countries, particularly since they lacked data from west Africa, north Africa or Australia with few participants from the Middle East. Middle-income countries consisted of Iran, South Africa, Philippines, Colombia, China, Brazil, Malaysia, Turkey, Poland, Argentina and Chile.

Dr. Philip Joseph, Associate Professor of Medicine at McMaster University and the co-lead of the paper concluded: "Efforts to tackle CVD through focusing on a small number of behavioural risk factors, such as reducing smoking, are important, but these efforts should expand to better Blood Pressure control and better use of secondary prevention, with simple and effective low-priced medications".

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