Mental Illness, Heart Disease On The Rise Globally

African American woman meditating on couchAlthough people are living longer worldwide, deaths related to heart disease, conflict and terrorism are on the rise, according to a Global Burden of Disease study.

The report, which involved more than 2,500 collaborators from 130 countries and territories, reveals that today, the average life expectancy is 72.5 years (75.3 years for women and 69.8 years for men). That’s up from 65.1 years of age in 1990 and 58.4 years of age in 1970, the report states.

As for who is drinking from the fountain of youth, Japan leads the pack with the highest life expectancy in 2016 at 83.9 years. Meanwhile, the Central African Republic had the lowest, at 50.2 years.

Overall, there were 54.7 million deaths in 2016 worldwide, with 72.3 percent of those deaths caused by “noncommunicable diseases,” such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.

As you may already know, heart disease is the number one killer of all Americans. As alarming as that is, the risk of getting the disease is highest for African-Americans, the American Heart Association says. In fact, according to the CDC, each year, Blacks suffer “more than 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes. Nearly 44 percent of African American men and 48 percent of African American women have some form of cardiovascular disease that includes heart disease and stroke.”

From 2006 to 2016, ischemic heart disease was the leading cause of death, resulting in nearly 9.5 million deaths in 2016, an increase of 19 percent since 2006. Diabetes followed close behind, causing 1.4 million deaths in 2016, up a whopping 31 percent since 2006.

The significance? African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. Blacks are also more likely to suffer a limb amputation and kidney disease than other people with diabetes.

“Patterns of global health are clearly changing, with more rapid declines in CMNN conditions than for other diseases and injuries,” the researchers wrote in the Sept. 14 issue of the journal The Lancet.

That said, rates of death caused by drug use, specifically opioid use and amphetamines, have seen a spike in some locations — particularly in high-income countries, the findings read. Overall, the stat is shocking: 1.1 billion people worldwide have some type of mental health or substance use disorder.