High blood pressure and obesity among ‘global killers’
14th December 2012
Research has revealed the three biggest causes of worldwide premature deaths, and they should not come as a major surprise to anybody. They are high blood pressure, smoking and alcohol abuse – all major health concerns covered in depth by Medical Specialists Pharmacy. All three have overtaken childhood starvation as common reasons for early deaths. The study into the reasons behind early fatalities was conducted by an international consortium of scientists as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The scientists analysed 43 different risk factors for an early death for twenty years, between 1990 and 2010. Looking at the data, it was discovered that high blood pressure was the number one concern and worldwide it was calculated that nine million people died as result of raised blood pressure in 2010 alone. Smoking claimed 6.3 million lives, closely followed by alcohol abuse (4.9 million). Regional variations were noted though. In more wealthy areas such as Western Europe and North America, researchers found that smoking appeared to be the biggest problem. In addition, alcohol was attributed to most deaths seen in Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and large parts of Latin America. Perhaps surprisingly, obesity was not within the top five killers – although it was the biggest climbing problem, shooting up from tenth place in 1990 to sixth in 2010. However, obesity is directly linked to a raised blood pressure, raised cholesterol, as well as sometimes being brought-on by alcohol abuse and therefore some of the ‘global killers’ may be more related than first thought. It was found there were over 3 million deaths in 2010 as a result of obesity - more than three times the total due to malnutrition. The overall findings represent what is the biggest global review that has ever been completed looking into the burden of disease, health risks and injury. Professor Majid Ezzati, who was one of the study leaders at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health, spoke on the difference between risks regarding adults and children. He said: “Overall we’re seeing a growing burden of risk factors that lead to chronic diseases in adults, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and a decreasing burden for risks associated with infectious diseases in children. But this global picture disguises the starkly different trends across regions. The risks associated with poverty have come down in most places, like Asia and Latin America, but they remain the leading issues in sub-Saharan Africa.” Professor Ezzati advised on what course of action should be taken to decrease the risk of the biggest health problems. He continued: “To bring down the burden of high blood pressure, we need to regulate the salt content of food, provide easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and strengthen primary healthcare services. Under-nutrition has come down in the ranking because we’ve made a lot of progress in many parts of the world. This should encourage us to continue those efforts and to replicate that success in Africa, where it’s still a major problem.” Medical Specialists Pharmacy have medications for several life-threatening and dangerous conditions such as high cholesterol (Lipitor, Crestor), obesity (Xenical, XLS-Medical Fat Binder), smoking (Champix), as well as a huge range of inhalers for asthma sufferers such as Ventolin Evohaler. If you do not have a prescription for any of the aforementioned medications or any other that Medical Specialists supply, you can undergo a private and confidential online consultation with one of our Doctors and if suitable, they will write you a prescription. This is passed to our in-house Pharmacists, and dispensed and dispatched to you at your home, your place of work, or where ever you choose, discreetly within 24 hours.