Nepal | September 30, 2020

Nepal ranks second in lung ailment deaths

 Ujjwal Satyal
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Kathmandu, August 11

On an average, out of every 100,000 Nepalis, almost 101 die of lung diseases, making Nepal second only to Kazakhstan when it comes to deaths due to lung ailments. In Kazakhstan, around 114 people out of every 100,000 die of lung diseases, according to World Life Expectancy survey.

Lung diseases are the second highest cause of death in Nepal behind coronary heart disease, which is the biggest killer in the country. On an average, of the 100,000 Nepalis, around 158.35 die due to coronary heart disease. Nepal is ranked 41st in the global league table of the rate at which the disease kills people.

The World Life Expectancy index was created using most recent data from sources likes the WHO, the World Bank, the UNESCO and individual country databases. The survey is based on 50 prominent ailments and accidents that claim lives of people in 183 countries.

Coronary heart diseases claimed 30,559 lives in 2017, accounting for approximately 19 per cent of total deaths caused by various diseases and accidents. As many as 19,274 people died of lung disease the same year, which makes up 11.81 per cent of total deaths in Nepal.

Dr Bishow Pokhrel, a cardiac surgeon and heart specialist, said changing lifestyle of people in Nepal has increased coronary heart patients. Coronary heart disease is related to blockage of major veins that join heart, which is the key reason of heart attack.

Dr Pokhrel suggested that regular exercise and balanced diet and avoiding excessive sweet, oil and salt could control the heart disease. He also suggested avoiding smoking, alcohol and avoiding exposure to polluted air could largely control lung diseases.

Among the top ten causes of deaths, stroke ranks third in Nepal, with 80.1 people killed by the disease out of every 100,000. Next in the line are influenza and pneumonia, which take lives of 47.23 out of every 100,000 people. Diarrhoeal (36.73 people), diabetes (33.25 people), tuberculosis (24.24 deaths) and liver disease (23.05 people) come on the, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth order, respectively.

Kidney disease stands ninth highest cause of death in the country and claims 21.72 lives out of 100,000, while Alzheimer’s/dementia has been categorised as the 10th highest cause of death with 20.52 people per 100,000 people.

Road accidents are 11th major reasons of death in the country. An average of 20.13 people out of 100,000 are killed in road accidents and Nepal stands at the 79th position in the world in deaths by road accidents.

HIV/AIDS is the 17th major cause of death in the country, which claims an average of 9.76 people out of 100,000. The number of females dying of this disease is remarkably higher than that of males with 15.54 and 4.67, respectively.

Nepal ranks third in the global ranking in terms of deaths attributed to Leishmaniasis, a disease that is spread by the bite of certain kind of sand-fly, and Encephalitis. Encephalitis kills an average of 3.38 people out of 100,000 people, while Leishmaniasis claims 1.28 lives.

Despite growing deaths, Nepali’s average life expectancy is improving over a period of last 29 years. The average life expectancy increased to 62.5 years in 2000s from 54.5 years in 1990s. And again rose to 68.0 years in 2010 and 70.2 years in 2016.

The National Planning Commission said the life expectancy of Nepalis will be 73 years in 2020.

Top 10 Killer Diseases in Nepal

Coronary Heart Disease 158.35
Lung Disease 100.75
Stroke 80.01
Influenza and Pneumonia 47.23
Diarrhoeal diseases 36.73
Diabetes Mellitus  33.25
Tuberculosis 24.24
 Liver Disease 23.05
Kidney Disease 21.72
Alzheimers/Dementia 20.52
                                (per 100,000 population)

A version of this article appears in print on August 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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