The top 10 causes of death and disability in 2019

Leading causes of disability globally

In 2019, there were 55.4 million deaths and 2.5 billion healthy years of life lost worldwide. And over 30 million – or nearly 3 in 5 people – died of the same 10 causes.

In African and South-East Asian regions, age-standardized mortality rates for communicable diseases dropped by over 50%, at least double the decline in NCDs and injuries.

Note: M= millions

While DALYs due to communicable diseases have dropped by 40% since 2000, the top 5 noncommunicable diseases and injuries alone added nearly 100 million years to global DALYs from 2000-2019. Of note is diabetes, for which DALYs have increased by over 80%.

Despite the overall decline in DALYs, the number of years the global population lived with disability (YLDs) increased by 210 million years in 2019 compared to 2000, partly offsetting the decrease of over 360 million years lost due to premature death (YLLs). Diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, road injuries, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, ischaemic heart disease and cancers are major contributors to this increase, as well as to global causes of death.

Both cause of death and DALYs due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are on the rise. DALYs for these conditions have also doubled in nearly all regions and income groups.

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