Death is something that is so mysterious and remain uncovered until today. World Health Organization (WHO) stated in 2016, the average lifespan of a human is 72 years (1). The life expectancy for Malaysia in 2019 was 76.07 years, while the current life expectancy for Malaysia in 2020 is 76.22 years, a 0.19% increase from 2019 (2). Hence, what are the factors that influence the number of life expectancy in Malaysia? We will discuss about The Causes of Death in Malaysia 2019.
Based on the statistic provided by Department of Statistic Malaysia on 30th October 2019, Ischaemic heart disease is the main cause of death for both male and female (15.6%) (3). Ischaemic heart disease can be defined as heart problem caused by narrowed heart arteries. When arteries are narrowed, less blood oxygen reaches the heart muscle. This is also commonly known as coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease. This can ultimately lead to heart attack (4).
The statistic is then followed by Pneumonia (15.6%) (3). Pneumonia is an infection that inflames tha air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms including bacteria, viruses and fungi can cause pneumonia. Pneumonia can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. It is most serious for infants and young children, people older than age 65 and people with health problems or weakened immune systems (5).
The third cause of death in Malaysia is cerebrovascular diseases (3). The word cerebrovascular is made up of two part – “cerebro” which refers to large part of the brain while “vascular” means arteries and veins. Together, the word cerebrovascular refers to blood flow in the brain. Cerebrovascular disease includes all disorders in which an area of the brain is temporarily or permanently affected by ischemia or bleeding and one or more of the cerebral blood vessels are involved in the pathological process. Cerebrovascular disease includes stroke, carotid stenosis, vertebral stenosis and intracranial stenosis, aneurysms, and vascular malformations (6).
Surprisingly, transport accident took only 3.7% of the total (3). However, there has been no change in the Malaysian fatality rate for transport accident since 2007. The Global Status Report on Road Safety published by the WHO and the World Bank in December 2018 reported that Malaysia had 7152 death in 2016 which 87% were males and 13% females. More than half of all road traffic deaths are motorcyclists. A study of motorcycle fatalities reported that majority were rider (89%), aged 16 to 20 years (22.5%) (7).
The last common cause of death in Malaysia is Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (3). Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (CLRD). CLRD comprises three major disease which are chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma, that are all characterized by shortness of breath caused by airway obstruction. The obstruction is irreversible in chronic bronchitis and emphysema, reversible in asthma. Chronic bronchitis is characterized by a productive cough occurring most days of the month for a least three months of the year for two consecutive years. Emphysema is characterized by abnormal permanent enlargement of the air spaces at the ends of the bronchioles, accompanied by the destruction of their walls. Most emphysema is caused by smoking. However, there is almost half of the patient of emphysema have an inherited condition known as alpha-1 antitrypsin (ATT) deficiency. ATT is a protein produced by the liver which can be deactivated by cigarette smoke. ATT normally works to inhibit the enzyme elastase which acts to destroy a protein called elastin. Elastin forms the underlying structure of the lungs and gives the air sacs their vital ability to stretch and recoil after filling with air. As elastin is destroyed, alveoli wall can break down, forming large, permanent distended air sacs (8).
From the statistics mentioned above, we can conclude that among the common causes of death, diseases took a major part of it. Hence, Malaysian should take a wise step in order to make a breakthrough on our average life span. Health problem is something we can take control over it by changing our lifestyle. Moreover, what we eat do matters too. Have you heard about ‘What you eat is what you become’? Take care of your health starting today by changing your eating habit.