October 10, 2005
Chronic Disease Biggest Killer World Wide

Chronic diseases will kill 35 million in 2005.

By the end of 2005, twice as many people will have died from chronic diseases as from all infectious diseases, starvation and pregnancy and birth complications combined, international experts have warned.

The “neglected epidemic” of chronic disease will take 35 million lives in 2005, out of the total 58 million who will die globally. And contrary to popular belief, most of the deaths - 80% - from chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer will be in low to middle-income countries.

Obesity and the demon tobacco are big contributors to ths trend. But, while the article does not state this, this is really a success story in one sense: More people in less developed countries are living long enough to get diseases of old age.

Deaths from infectious diseases and starvation continue to be viewed by most people as morally more objectionable. Death from heart disease, cancer, and other diseases associated with aging continue to be seen as natural and inevitable. This view that these diseases are natural leads to the view that they are not morally undesirable. Whereas deaths from infectious diseases are seen as morally repugnant and to be fought against much more strongly.

As more diseases of old age become manipulable by biotechnology this belief in their naturalness and in their inevitability will wane. If more people could make that mental shift sooner then the result would be much greater political support for increased funding of research aimed at developing rejuvenation therapies.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2005 October 10 12:44 PM  Aging Debate

Fly said at October 10, 2005 2:54 PM:

I expect significant progress against heart disease and cancer. Will that mean people just die from heart disease and cancer at a later age or will some other disease become the major “old age” killer?

Annual Report to the Nation Finds Cancer Death Rates Still on the Decline:


“observed cancer death rates from all cancers combined dropped 1.1 percent per year from 1993 to 2002”

“declines in death rates reflect progress in prevention, early detection, and treatment”

“Death rates decreased for 12 of the top 15 cancers in men, and nine of the top 15 cancers in women.”

“Overall cancer incidence rates (the rate at which new cancers are diagnosed) for both sexes have been stable since 1992. Incidence rates were stable in men from 1995 to 2002 and increased 0.3 percent annually in women since 1987 to 2002.”

“The persistent increase in overall cancer incidence rates for women can be attributed to increases in rates for breast and six other cancers: non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, leukemia, and thyroid, bladder and kidney cancer.”

“Changes in overall incidence may result from changes in the prevalence of risk factors and from changes in detection practices due to introduction or increased use of screening and/or diagnostic techniques.”

Randall Parker said at October 10, 2005 3:16 PM:


Half of all people over age 85 have Alzheimer's or a dementia. The brain fails.

Mind you, I think we will cure Alzheimer's before we cure cancer. But general brain aging will still be happening.

Robert Schwartz said at October 10, 2005 11:21 PM:

I think this is actually good news. Few people are being taken by the four horsemen. More live to be fat and die in old age.

Sheila said at October 11, 2005 9:54 AM:

What percentage of the human race lives in "low to middle income countries"?

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