50% of deaths in Iran are premature: health official

July 28, 2019 - 21:17

TEHRAN- Some 50 percent of deaths in Iran are premature, said Deputy Health Minister Reza Malekzadeh.

Approximately, 375,000 deaths occur per year in the country and around half of them are premature, that is half the people die under the age of 70, said Malekzadeh in an interview with IRNA on Saturday.

“The number of premature deaths in Iran is the same as other developing countries, but in developed countries the rate of premature death is as low as 15 to 20 percent. By making some changes, we can lower the rate of early deaths in our country as well,” said Malekzadeh.

Preventing premature deaths is now among the top priorities of the Health Ministry, he noted.

“It is very unfortunate that around 55,000 of people who die annually are under the age of 55,” he said.

“The cause of 80,000 of premature deaths is high blood pressure, which is a curable disease; however, half the Iranians who have blood pressure are unaware of their condition,” he added.

80% of deaths are due to NCDs

According to Malekzadeh, around 80 percent of deaths in Iran are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and among them, stroke and heart diseases take the heaviest toll.

“33% of Iranians die of heart failure and 15% of stroke, so we can say that around 50% of deaths are caused by heart and brain failure,” he said.

“However, at least 80% of heart failures and strokes are preventable. In the past our main focus was on fighting infectious diseases, but five years ago we launched the national campaign for fighting non-communicable diseases and shifted our focus on controlling non-communicable diseases.”

“In addition, 20% of deaths in Iran are resulting from cancer and 10% from incidents. Chronic kidney disease, lung disease and liver disease are the other main causes of death in the country,” he added.

Premature death worldwide

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the evidence shows that 15 million of all deaths attributed to NCDs occur between the ages of 30 and 69 years. Of these "premature" deaths, over 85% are estimated to occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors contributing to NCDs, whether from unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and exposure to tobacco smoke or the harmful use of alcohol.

These diseases are driven by forces that include rapid unplanned urbanization, globalization of unhealthy lifestyles and population ageing. NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.

SJ/MG

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