Ischaemic heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers resulting in 15.2 million deaths all over the world in 2016, a fact-sheet by the World Health Organisation reveals.

The two diseases have remained the leading causes of death globally for the past 15 years.

An ischaemic heart disease includes stable angina, unstable angina, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death.

The WHO report released in May 2018 stated that 54% of the 56.9 million deaths recorded worldwide in 2016 were due to the top 10 main diseases.

Here are the top 10 biggest killers in the world:

1. Ischaemic heart disease

An ischaemic heart disease includes stable angina, unstable angina, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death.

2. Stroke

Stroke is a medical emergency that happens when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This can cause serious symptoms, lasting disability, and even death.

3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

It is a lung disease characterised by long-term breathing problems and poor airflow.

It claimed 3.0 million lives in 2016.

4. Lung cancer (along with trachea and bronchus cancers)

It is a malignant lung tumour characterised by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung.

Lung cancer caused 1.7 million deaths.

5. Diabetes

A group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose).

It killed 1.6 million people in 2016.

6. Lower respiratory infections (often called Pneumonia)

It remained one of the most deadly communicable diseases in the world.

Pneumonia killed 3.0 million deaths worldwide in 2016.

7. Diarrhoeal diseases

Diarrhoeal is defined as having loose or watery stools at least three times per day, or more frequently than normal for an individual.

It killed 1.4 million deaths in 2016.

8. Tuberculosis deaths

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by the bacteria and generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body.

It killed 1.3 million in 2016.


Human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV) that kills or damages the body's immune system cells.

It killed 1.0 million people in 2016.

10. Road injury

Road traffic injuries are defined as “fatal or non-fatal injuries incurred as a result of a road traffic crash.

It killed 1.4 million people in 2016.

The World Health Organisation said cause-of-death statistics help authorities to find lasting solutions and raise public awareness on some of the diseases.

“A country in which deaths from heart disease and diabetes rise rapidly over a period of a few years, for example, has a strong interest in starting a vigorous programme to encourage lifestyles to help prevent these illnesses.”

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