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The Top 5 Leading Causes of Death for Females of All Ages

  Cause of Death Female Deaths
1 Ischaemic Heart Disease 3,268,700
2 Cerebrovascular Disease 2,695,280
3 Lower Respiratory Infections 1,782,448
4 HIV/AIDS 1,443,313
5 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases 1,155,531
Tags Death Statistics , Health Statistics , Leading Causes of Death

Sources: WHO report: Injury, a leading cause of the global burden of disease 2000.

List Notes: All Statistics are reported deaths for the year 2000. This WHO study combines mortality data from national vital registration systems with information obtained from surveys, censuses,epidemiological studies and health service data.
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  1. Heart disease and stroke are already leading causes of death in women in developed countries and will be the leading cause of death in women in poor countries by 2020. The female death rate from heart disease is almost eighteen times higher than from breast cancer and six times more than HIV/AIDS related deaths. In developing countries, half of all deaths of women over 50 are due to heart disease and stroke. Women will continue to experience disproportionately high mortality from Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). By 2040, women in the study countries (Russia, Brazil, India, China, South Africa) will represent a higher proportion of CVD deaths than men. In 2040, women in China are projected to be 49.5 percent of the population, but even if death rates no higher than now apply then, they will represent 54.6 percent of CVD deaths. In Brazil and China, the growth of CVD deaths among working-aged women between 2000 and 2040 will be higher than for men.
  2. Cerebrovascular disease (CVD) is damage to the blood vessels in the brain, resulting in a stroke. Blood vessels can become blocked because of fat deposits, or a wandering blood clot, which can block the flow of blood to a part of the brain. Sometimes, the blood vessels may leak, break, or burst, resulting in a hemorrhagic stroke. CVD is the most disabling of all neurological diseases. Approximately 50% of survivors have a residual neurological deficit and greater than 25% require chronic care. An estimated 17 million people die of CVDs, particularly heart attacks and strokes, every year. A substantial number of these deaths can be attributed to tobacco smoking, which increases the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease 2 to 3 fold. People with diabetes are also at higher risk of cerebrovascular disease.
  3. More than half of the world's population rely on dung, wood, crop waste or coal to meet their most basic energy needs. Cooking and heating with such solid fuels on open fires or stoves without chimneys leads to indoor air pollution and exposure is particularly high among women and children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth. Every year, indoor air pollution leads to Lower Respiratory Infections such as pneumonia and are responsible for the death of one person every 20 seconds. Lower Respiratory Infections are also often associated with AIDS.
  4. By the end of 2005, women accounted for nearly half of all people living with AIDS worldwide, and represent almost 60% of infections in sub-Saharan Africa. New studies underscore the disproportionate impact of the AIDS epidemic on women, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where, on average, three women are HIV-infected for every two men, however among young people (15 to 24 years), the ratio widens considerably to three young women for every young man.
  5. The main risk factor in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is smoking. Approximately 15% of all chronic smokers will develop the disease. COPD can also be caused by prolonged exposure to certain dusty, smoke filled environments and for women in developing countries exposure is particularly high because of cooking and heating with solid fuels such as dung, wood, crop waste or coal which leads to indoor air pollution. Women exposed to indoor smoke are three times as likely to suffer from COPD, such as chronic bronchitis, than women who cook and heat with electricity, gas and other cleaner fuels.