Top 10 Leading Causes of Death



Top 10 Leading Causes of Death

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Genevieve Methot.

We interrupt your day to bring you our most depressing countdown yet. Join as we count down the top 10 leading causes of death. For this list, we've used stats pulled from a 2012 study by the World Health Organization to determine which diseases and illnesses are the biggest killers. These causes of death are deadly, and unfortunately the most common killers worldwide.

Special thanks to our user roxy for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script written by Genevieve Methot.

Top 10 Leading Causes of Death

We interrupt your day to bring you our most depressing countdown yet. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down the top 10 leading causes of death.

For this list, we’ve used stats pulled from a 2012 study by the World Health Organization to determine which diseases and illnesses are the biggest killers.

#10: Hypertensive Heart Disease

The conditions that kill roughly 1.1 million people annually stem from problems caused by high blood pressure, like coronary artery disease, angina, heart failure and hypertrophy. And in fact, hypertensive heart disease is the top killer associated with high blood pressure. Risk factors include heredity, being overweight and getting little exercise, as well as poor food choices, high cholesterol intake and smoking. You should talk to your doctor if symptoms like chest tightness, pressure or pain occur, or you notice an irregular heartbeat.

#9: Road Injury

Every year, approximately 1.3 million people are killed in car crashes or succumb to their injuries soon after. Whether from drunk driving, falling asleep at the wheel, road rage or just plain negligence, it is the only killer on this list that is non-health related. With more cars on the road than ever before and more ways for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to be distracted, it doesn’t look like this staggering statistic will fall anytime soon. Sure, accidents happen, but a huge percentage of these deaths are still caused by human error.

#8: Diabetes Mellitus

A group of diseases wherein the sufferer endures high blood sugar levels for a protracted length of time, diabetes is no longer the death sentence it once was. However, though there are ways to control and live with diabetes, it still claims around 1.5-million lives annually. Type-1 diabetes is another unpreventable condition that one develops during childhood, but Type-2, otherwise known as adult-onset diabetes, iscaused by genetics and poor lifestyle choices. Diabetes can also increase your chances of developing other health problems like cardiovascular or kidney disease, blindness or foot problems leading to amputation.

#7: Diarrheal Diseases

Caused by an infection that was in turn caused by contaminated food, drink or poor hygiene, diarrheal diseases are the second-leading killer of children under 5, responsible for around 1.5-million deaths a year. Basically defined as the passing three or more loose stools daily, this group of diseases includes illnesses like cholera and dysentery. What’s even worse is diarrheal diseases are largely preventable; however, since so many people in the world – mainly in developing countries – still do not have access to clean, running water and proper sanitation, this disease persists.

#6: HIV / AIDS

While Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome seems to be getting less press than it once did, it continues to be one of the world’s most brutal killers. Although the disease is only roughly 30-years-old, HIV/AIDS has killed over 39 million people globally, with 1.5-million passing in 2013 alone. Human Immunodeficiency Virus is spread through bodily fluids, which is why unprotected sex, unsterile hypodermic needles, and blood transfusions are high-risk behaviors. AIDS is the most advanced stage of the disease, but luckily it is completely preventable, so get tested and stay safe.

#5: Trachea / Bronchus / Lung Cancers

Though cancer as a group causes more deaths each year than even our number one killer, lung cancer is one of the most deadly. Every year, about 1.6-million people die from pulmonary carcinoma, which can affect the lungs, trachea or bronchus. Cigarette smoking leads to between 80-90% of all cases, while the remaining 10% is caused by air pollution, radon gas, asbestos and genetics. And, while you can’t change your DNA, you can make an attempt to quit smoking to help prevent this disease.

#4: Lower Respiratory Infections

An umbrella term for diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis and in some cases influenza, lower respiratory tract infections kill 3.1-million annually, with pneumonia itself the leading cause of death of children under the age of 5. The main reason that particular illness remains a killer in underdeveloped countries is due to lack of immunization and proper healthcare. Though respiratory infections are referred to as “diseases of the poor,” they are by no means confined to third world countries, so take the proper steps and get your child vaccinated.

#3: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Not to be confused with lung cancer, COPD is an umbrella term for a number of lung conditions, some of which were formerly known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which kill roughly 3.1 million people a year. The over-60-million sufferers live with the constant feeling of breathing through a straw and are also plagued by that tell-tale persistent cough, among other symptoms. It is yet another preventable killer on our list associated with tobacco smoking, which is, in fact, the main cause of COPD, along with air pollution.

#2: Stroke

Caused by a temporary interruption of blood to the brain, a stroke can be severe enough to cause sudden death. Even if you survive a cerebrovascular accident, your quality of life can be severely impacted. Typified by an abrupt lack of feeling in your face, arm or leg – usually confined to one side of the body – a stroke can lead to brain damage. Responsible for roughly 6.7 million deaths yearly, strokes aren’t always preventable, but there are ways of reducing your risk, and if you’ve been paying attention, you probably know what those are.

#1: Ischemic Heart Disease

Also called coronary artery disease, this condition kills over 7-million people a year, and is also the most common cause of heart attacks. And what is the leading cause of heart disease? Smoking, heredity, high blood pressure, lack of physical exercise, stress and more. Plaque builds along the inner walls of your heart’s arteries, which basically lessens blood flow to the heart. A quiet killer until the disease’s advanced stages; most people show few symptoms for years. Though it’s the world’s leading killer, healthy choices will help you avoid this and many other health problems.

Are you surprised by our list? What other cause of death did you think would make the cut? For more informative top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to