An interesting new study compares the leading causes of death today against the leading causes of death in 1901 – providing an eye-opening look at how much our world has changed over the course of a century.
One thing we never learned growing up – while watching ‘Bonanza’ or ‘Gunsmoke’ or ‘Rawhide’ was how truly fragile life could be in the Old West.
If we took our cowboy TV seriously we might think the leading cause of death was a gunfight or hanging for horse thievery or maybe falling off a horse.
The truth was much more mundane.
The leading cause of death in 1901 – almost 59,000 cases – was actually diarrhea or other intestinal distresses.
Not far behind was tuberculosis at 55,000.
Pneumonia was third at 48,000.
Today we take medicines like antibiotics or vaccines for granted but without them our death statistics would likely look very similar to those of 1901.
Here’s the rest of the list:
Five conditions accounted for almost 40% of all deaths worldwide in 2012.
The countries are most affected by these diseases and how trends are changing over time.
Five conditions – ischaemic heart disease – stroke – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – lower respiratory infections and trachea – bronchus – lung diseases – accounted for almost 40% of all deaths worldwide in 2012.
This infographic shows which countries are most affected by these diseases and how trends are changing over time.