- Together, the following 10 diseases account for around 62 per cent of the deaths in Tanzania. The list is sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the US.
We all want to be part of a society where we live long and as healthy as we possibly can. But as humans, at some point every one of us will die.
But why do people die?
Together, the following 10 diseases account for around 62 per cent of the deaths in Tanzania. The list is sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the US.
HIV/AIDS is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world and number 1 on our list. HIV causes 17 per cent of the deaths and has already caused around 35 million deaths worldwide. In Tanzania, more than 630,000 people are currently receiving HIV treatment. Although there is no cure for this condition currently, certain medications can reduce the speed of progression of the disease.
Lower respiratory infections- 11%
These are infections that affect the lower part of the airways which include the trachea, bronchi and lungs. The term ‘Lower Respiratory Infections’ is often used as a synonym for pneumonia, but can also be applied to other types of infection including lung abscess and acute bronchitis. It is common in infants who are not exclusively breastfed during the first half of infancy.
Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease caused by a plasmodium parasite and spread by mosquitoes. It kills millions every year especially on the African continent. Malaria is responsible for 7% of the deaths in Tanzania and stands in third position.
Diarrheal Disease- 6%
It is the second leading cause of death worldwide in children under 5 years of age.
The disease can be prevented through safe-drinking water and adequate hygiene and sanitation. Globally, there are an estimated 2 billion cases of diarrheal diseases every year which is an extremely huge number.
TB is an infectious bacterial disease. Classic symptoms include chronic cough with bloody sputum, fever, weight loss and night sweats. Smokers and HIV positive patients are at higher risk of contracting TB. According to a report by the World Health Organisation, the condition affected around 10.4 million worldwide and caused 1.8 million deaths in 2015.
Cancer is basically the abnormal growth of cells. A variety of factors can cause cancers and include tobacco use, smoking, alcohol use, obesity, poor diet and lack of physical exercise. Tobacco is estimated to cause about 22% of cancer deaths so make sure you keep away from cigarettes, alcohol and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Early detection of cancer can greatly reduce your chances of survival against it while if detected late, there is not much that can be done against it.
Ischemic heart disease- 3%
Also known as Coronary Artery Diseases, it is the most common type of heart disease. A common symptom is chest pain which radiates to the jaw, shoulder, arm, neck or back. Another symptom includes shortness of breath. Smokers, alcohol users and people with high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and obese people are at higher risk of developing the disease.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced.
Thus, the brain is deprived of nutrients and oxygen which leads to death of brain cells. Strokes are usually caused by a blocked artery in the brain or the leaking of blood from an artery in the brain. They usually occur in patients with high cholesterol levels and smokers and can lead to paralysis and even death.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases- 3%: Also known as Sexually Transmitted Infections, they are infections which are commonly spread by sexual intercourse. Most STD’s don’t usually cause symptoms which results into a greater risk of spread to others since the individual is unaware that he is infected. Symptoms and signs may include genital discharge, genital ulcers and pelvic pain. Examples include gonorrhea, syphilis and Chlamydia among others.
Sepsis- 2%: Sepsis is basically the presence of harmful bacteria and their toxins in body tissues, usually through wound infections. Common signs include fever, increased heart rate and breathing, confusion and the condition is usually life threatening. The young, elderly as well as cancer and diabetic patients are at increased risk of developing the condition.
The author is a Medical Student at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University.