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The Causes of Death Worldwide

The top global cause of death are due to age-related diseases.
The top global cause of death are due to age-related diseases.

It is important to understand that the majority of deaths worldwide are caused by age-related diseases, either directly or indirectly. Our World in Data has produced a superb interactive chart that shows just how much impact aging and age-related diseases have. While these data end in 2017, death rates related to disease typically only change slowly over time, and dramatic changes in such deaths are typically rare. Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the big killers, and both can be, for the most part, considered age-related diseases.

The current approach to age-related diseases is to attempt to treat the symptoms rather than the cause, but that paradigm is starting to shift towards one of prevention. Hopefully, in time, medicine will move into a paradigm in which aging itself is targeted to prevent a slew of diseases at once. Given that aging is the number one risk factor for the diseases of aging, it makes sense that reducing a person’s biological age would likewise reduce their risk for these diseases. This new approach to how we might treat, delay, or even reverse age-related diseases by making people biologically younger is known as rejuvenation biotechnology.

Literature

Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) – “Causes of Death”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org.

Chang, A. Y., Skirbekk, V. F., Tyrovolas, S., Kassebaum, N. J., & Dieleman, J. L. (2019). Measuring population ageing: an analysis of the global burden of disease study 2017. The Lancet Public Health, 4(3), e159-e167.