Today we are broaching a topic that may not be the merriest of things to think about. Nevertheless, it’s something we all do think about: How will we be taken from this existence? If you’ve made it this far, you’re doing ok. Infant mortality rates differ from region to region, but for the most part many more babies get to the age of five than in the past. The WHO tells us that 41 percent of infants that don’t make it to five die at birth, which is 3.3 million deaths from a total of 8.2 million under-five deaths around the world. Those first four weeks of your life are tense, but if you survive those, the odds are good for clocking-in for many years to come. Today we’ll look at how you’ll probably go, in this episode of the Infographics Show, This is how you will die.
First of all we should point out that region-to-region and country-to-country, the probability of you dying one way or another will change. If you are a Japanese man, your life is expected to reach 78.8 years old, on average, and if you are a Japanese woman, 85.5. This is the highest life expectancy on the planet. You can read a number of articles on why this is, and most put it down to a healthy diet of vegetables and fish that usually comes in small portions, as well as elderly citizens enjoying exercise and usually not being left to fester in old people’s homes. An observer in Japan will also note these people are hardworking, and at times have a propensity for drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. According to Japanese Health data, smoking is the third biggest risk factor behind disease, as well as high blood pressure and dietary risks. The data said that in 2016, the three leading causes of death in Japan were: senile dementia/ Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease. If you are young, though, it’s a different matter. It has been reported that in Japan, suicide is the leading cause of death among men aged 20–44. Statistically, if you eat the average Japanese diet, don’t smoke, and can find ways to circumvent or deal with life’s woes, you will very likely get old in Japan. Vehicle deaths, drug overdoses and crime-related deaths are very uncommon in this large country, unlike many other prosperous nations.
The continent of Africa has some of the lowest life expectancy rates per country. The lowest of them all is Sierra Leone, which has an average life expectancy of just 50.1. The other countries with life expectancy rates in the early 50s are Angola (52.4), Central African Republic (52.5), Chad (53.1), Ivory Coast (53.3) and Lesotho (53.7). Unfortunately, many of the leading causes of death in these regions are preventable. These are nutritional deficiencies, pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases, anaemia, malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, with malaria being the biggest killer. The fact that so many people do not receive adequate health care, do not have adequate sanitation or clean drinking water, or enough money for a substantial diet means disease can easily spread. Statistically, the stark truth is that being poor will most likely finish you off in some of the countries we mentioned here.
This lies in juxtaposition to many countries in what we call first world nations. In Africa, the high death rate at a young age might be a consequence of not having enough, but in places such as the United States, the death rate can often be correlated to having too much.
So, let’s have a look at death in the USA. We will go into more detail here due to the fact that many of our viewers are from the United States, but also because death rates there mirror some other developed nations.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), right now in the U.S. – a country with an average life expectancy of 81.5 for women and 77 for men – the mostly likely way for you to go is by heart disease. 633,842 people died from heart disease according to a report published in 2016 (the data was taken from 2015 deaths). That’s about one in every five Americans meeting the reaper due to a faulty ticker.
Next on the list is cancer at 595,930 deaths, followed by chronic lower respiratory diseases at 155,041 deaths; accidents (unintentional injuries) at 146,571 deaths; stroke (cerebrovascular diseases) at 140,323 deaths; Alzheimer’s disease at 110,561 deaths; Diabetes at 79,535 deaths; Influenza and pneumonia at 57,062 deaths; kidney disease at 49,959 deaths, and suicide at 44,193 deaths. In case you were wondering, although gun crime and murders often take up the headlines, the FBI reported that in 2016, 17,250 murders occurred in the U.S. That was 8.8 percent more than in 2015.
Another headline maker has been drug-related deaths in the USA, much in part due to the rise of prescribed opioids that have hit the streets over the last few years. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports that Americans are by far the biggest consumers of opioids, followed by Canada, and Germany a ways behind. The New York Times just reported that ODs are now the leading cause of accidental death in the USA. The Times wrote that the CDC hasn’t come up with the exact figure yet for 2016. But, said the Times, expect it to be the biggest ever recorded, at 59,000 deaths by opiate OD, which is now the “leading cause of death among Americans under 50.” You heard that right. If you are not at the half century mark yet, you are most likely to die from overdoing it with drugs such as heroin, Fentanyl or Oxycontin.
Motor vehicle deaths in the USA in 2016 accounted for 37,461 deaths, so if we add that to the 59,000 overdose deaths and the 17,250 murders, we have 113,711 deaths in 2016. We won’t get too political, but we could say that all these deaths might be preventable with changes in legislation. While the drugs, guns and fast cars are still flowing in the American mainstream, if you don’t want to die under 50, then perhaps you should give them all a wide berth.
Still, what are the causes of all the heart disease and cancer in the U.S.? According to the CDC, a lot of heart disease-related deaths could be prevented, too, and a big part of that is the notoriously terrible diet that many Americans enjoy. Watch your cholesterol, exercise, eat healthy, don’t drink too much booze, watch the pounds, and the CDC says you might just avoid heart disease.
But then cancer takes out almost as many American folks? What to do about that? According to the American Cancer Society, cancer can come by dint of your genetics, so you might not be able to avoid it. You can, however, eat well and get all the right nutrients to keep your body healthy and able to fight off disease; exercise, stay away from abusive behavior, and try not to get sun burnt every day. According to a report in Live Science “73 is the median age of cancer death”, so don’t get too worried just yet. While we may not be able to hide from the big C, medical science tells us diet and bad habits, and especially obesity, can be a fast track towards getting the disease. The total number of deaths in the USA in 2016 was 2,626,418, and almost half of those were due to heart disease and cancer. Is that just normal in most nations?
If we look at the Brits, like America, a fast-food society with alarming obesity rates, they have much higher rates of heart disease than their food-loving neighbors, the French. There is a lot of speculation as to why this is, but it’s thought the French eat better, stay thinner, and binge less. Because the French also enjoy a high fat diet and are partial to wine, researchers have called their low rate of heart disease the “French paradox”. Medical professionals are still disagreeing over this paradox, just as monthly, the public is told this or that is bad for them, and then a month later it turns out eggs are actually good and a glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away. What we can tell you is that it seems that moderation in life is the key to longevity, as well as exercising the body and mind. Stay healthy, and don’t die on us.
So, how do you think you’ll go? Let us know in the comments!