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What Argentines die of: the five first causes and how they are prevented


It arises from the Vital Statistics report. In 2021, COVID-19 overtook cardiovascular diseases as the leading cause.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world.

And Argentina is no exception.

What did introduce an exception was the pandemic: in 2021, according to the latest Vital Statistics Yearbook, COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in the country.

In years considered normal -that is, without a pandemic like the one we are going through- heart pathologies occupy the first place.

The disease caused by the coronavirus moved them to second place (except in those over 75), followed by different types of cancer, pneumonia and influenza, and cerebrovascular accident (CVA).

Those first five places combine non-communicable diseases (heart, cerebrovascular and cancer) with communicable (covid, flu and pneumonia).

But they have something in common: they all can take measures to

reduce the risk of death

from these causes.


According to the publication prepared by the Health Statistics and Information Directorate (DEIS) that the Ministry of Health released a few days ago, in 2021 COVID-19 was the leading cause of death among people aged 25 to 74 and the second in those older than that age.


90% of deaths from coronavirus were in people over 50


In this sense, the report points out that in 2021 mortality was 26.3% higher than expected, that is, it caused what is known as "excess mortality", which corresponds to almost 90,000 deaths.

Excess mortality is a methodology that compares the total number of expected deaths -according to the median of previous years- with the effective deaths that occur during a crisis (epidemic, pandemic, catastrophe).

If the recorded deaths exceed those recorded, it is considered that there were excess deaths.

The analysis of the data established that the greatest excess mortality occurred

in the first semester

, when the second wave of COVID-19 occurred due to the introduction of variants with greater transmissibility and severity (mainly Gamma) and when the campaign had just begun. of vaccination.

Today the reality is very different.

More than three years after the start of the pandemic, most of the population has already come into contact with the coronavirus and started the vaccination scheme.

According to the Public Vaccination Monitor, 38 million people have the full scheme and more than half (22.6 million)

received at least one booster


Vaccines against COVID-19 reduce the risk of complications and death.

In the current moment, in which life returned to normal pre-pandemic (mainly thanks to immunization),

they are the most effective tool

to protect yourself.

"Those people 6 months or older who have completed their primary schedule (two doses or two doses +additional) with a minimum interval of four months can be given a booster (either the first, second or third as appropriate)", they report. from the Ministry of Health.

How many reinforcements correspond according to age:

  • 6 months to 2 years inclusive: first reinforcement.

  • 3 to 11 years inclusive: second reinforcement.

  • 12 to 17 years inclusive: second reinforcement.

  • 12 to 17 years inclusive with immunocompromised: third booster.

  • 18 years or older: third booster.

The vaccine is available in vaccination centers, health centers and hospitals throughout the country.

(Here you can consult the nearest place to get vaccinated)

2. Heart disease

Heart diseases are grouped in the Vital Statistics Yearbook as diseases of the circulatory system, which are associated with approximately

one in four of all registered deaths


Heart failure and ischemic heart disease are the ones that produced the most deaths in 2021: 27,973 and 24,787, respectively.

While hypertensive diseases were associated with almost 8,500 deaths.

And to type 2 diabetes, another of the major cardiovascular risk factors, almost 10,000.

Those numbers can improve.


Introducing improvements in the two instances of prevention: primary and secondary.

The primary one consists of adopting measures that contribute to

avoiding or delaying

the appearance of diseases.

While the secondary aims to

detect early, treat and control

(with healthy habits, medications, surgical procedures) pathologies to slow or stop their progression, as well as reduce the risk of new cardiovascular episodes in people who have already overcome one (a heart attack, for example).

Based on a review of more than 2,400 articles, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently updated its guidelines for maintaining a healthy heart (the same applies to the brain, too).

In an article published in Circulation, their flagship magazine, they welcomed the new

Life's Essential 8

guidelines in mid-2022 , which replace the famous Life's Simple 7. Among other novelties, they added sleep health to the algorithm.

Here are the eight essential components to maintaining a healthy heart and brain:



  The AHA's advice is: Aim for an overall healthy eating pattern that includes whole foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean animal protein (skinless poultry, fish, and shellfish), nuts, low-fat dairy, seeds, and cooking with non-tropical oils such as olive and canola.

Limit sugary drinks, alcohol, sodium, red and processed meats.

Diets recommended by the AHA that meet those recommendations are the DASH and the Mediterranean diet.


Physical activity.

Adults should get 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week.

Children, 60 minutes every day, including games and structured activities.


Don't smoke

Within a year of quitting smoking, your risk of heart disease is cut in half.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and is linked to a third of all deaths from heart disease and 90% of lung cancers.


Sleep duration


Sleep duration is associated with cardiovascular health.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

Children need more: 10 to 16 hours for children 5 and younger (including naps);

9 to 12 hours between 6 and 12 years;

and from 8 to 10 hours for ages 13 to 18.


Maintain a healthy weight


BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is associated with the highest levels of cardiovascular health.


Measure and control cholesterol levels


To keep cholesterol levels under control, they recommend following healthy eating guidelines, doing physical activity, not smoking, and taking medication if prescribed by the doctor.


Monitor blood sugar levels


Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.


Control blood pressure


In Argentina, hypertension is considered from 140/90 mmHg or 14/9.

3. Cancer

Tumors are the third cause of death in Argentina.

In 2021 they produced 130.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants (a total of 62,364).

According to estimates from the Global Cancer Observatory (Globocan), there are about

130,000 new cases of cancer per year

in the country.

The four most frequent (breast, colon, lung and prostate) are also the ones that generate the most deaths.

According to the Vital Statistics report, in 2021 tumors in the trachea, bronchi and lung caused 8,740 deaths, colon and rectal cancer 7,416, breast cancer 5,939 and prostate cancer 3,585.

Cancer is not one disease but many.

There are non-modifiable factors that increase the chances of developing it and that cannot be modified, such as

age, sex or genetic predisposition

, for example.

But it is estimated that

between a third and a half of the cases could be avoided

through the modification of behaviors linked to known risk factors and on which changes can be introduced.

These factors are obesity (linked to poor diet and sedentary lifestyle), smoking, infections, exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) and alcohol consumption.

Formulated by the positive, the great protective habits against cancer are almost the same ones that help take care of the heart and the brain: healthy eating, regular physical exercise, weight control, not smoking, avoiding infections, protecting yourself from the sun and UV radiation and avoiding or moderating alcohol consumption.

As for the infections that can predispose to the development of some types of cancer, not all of them can be avoided, but some can.

In this sense, the use of condoms, vaccination against the

hepatitis B

virus (which prevents liver cancer and is free and compulsory for people of all ages) and

against HPV

(reduces the risk of cancer) is recommended.

cervix, penis, anus, vulva, among others and is included in the calendar when girls and boys turn 11).

The line of care against cancer also includes secondary prevention, that is, the performance of


or tracing studies that favor the early detection of some types of cancer or precursor lesions that, without treatment, can become tumors.

The controls indicated for the four most frequent types of cancer are: .


Women 25 years of age and older

should undergo a PAP test or HPV test in order to detect the presence of high-risk HPV, a virus that if left untreated, can eventually develop into cervical cancer.


In women ages 40 and older

, an annual mammogram helps detect breast cancer early, increasing the chances of a cure.


Men and women from the age of 50

should undergo screening studies for colon cancer, such as the fecal occult blood test and/or colonoscopy.


In men from the age of 50,

an annual urological control is recommended to detect prostate cancer early and evaluate its approach.


People between the ages of 55 and 75 with a history of smoking

, with a history of smoking 30 packs per year (equivalent to 600 per year), who currently smoke or have quit smoking in the last 15 years should undergo early detection with CT scan. low-dose chest radiation, according to the Argentine Consensus for Lung Cancer Screening, which was recently published by Argentine specialists.

In all cases, people with a family history should

start the controls earlier


4. Flu and pneumonia

Diseases of the respiratory system (which do not include COVID-19) caused 63,000 deaths in 2021. More than half (33,812) correspond to pneumonia and influenza (the flu virus).

Flu and pneumonia affect people of all ages and vary in severity from mild to



The groups most vulnerable to this type of infection are infants and young children, over 65 years of age, and people of any age who smoke, have health problems (diabetes, chronic lung diseases, malnutrition, alcoholism) or diseases that affect the immune system. .

In these groups, which present a higher risk of complications, free and compulsory

vaccination against influenza and pneumococcus

is indicated in Argentina .

"Influenza vaccination must be carried out in a timely manner, ideally

before the beginning of winter

, the stage of greatest circulation of the influenza virus," recalled the Ministry of Health a few days ago, as part of the launch of the vaccination campaign.

"However, and in line with the national, regional and local epidemiological scenario, influenza vaccination will continue for the rest of the year, due to the dynamics of viral circulation," he added.

People who are not part of the prioritized groups in the National Calendar and who still want to get vaccinated can do so in

pharmacies and private vaccination centers


Vaccination is the best strategy to avoid serious cases, hospitalizations, and death from the flu, pneumonia, and covid.

These vaccines

can be applied together

, without the need for there to be an interval between them.

5. Cerebrovascular accidents (CVA)

In 2021, cerebrovascular diseases caused 18,612 deaths, according to the records of the Health Statistics and Information Directorate (DEIS).

Although some stroke risk factors cannot be changed, the majority of strokes (between 80% and 90%) are linked to risk factors that are becoming more prevalent, but which can be changed.

Those that cannot be changed include


(the risk of having a stroke doubles every decade after age 55), history

of cardiovascular events

(heart attack or stroke) in young relatives, or having had a stroke or a previous transient ischemic attack (TIA).

The risk factors that can be intervened on

are the same ones that threaten the heart

and health in general, because they are also associated with the development of other diseases.

The most important is

arterial hypertension

, followed by smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, excess weight associated with poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, sleep apnea, and drug use.

To avoid sequelae and/or death from a stroke, it is also key

to act urgently

when symptoms appear.

Immediate medical help should be requested (

by calling 107

or the emergency number of the social work or prepaid) if a person suddenly experiences difficulties speaking, deviation of the mouth or lack of strength in arms and/or legs ( usually one sided).

Other alarm symptoms that a stroke can manifest with are vision problems,

a sudden and very intense headache

, loss of coordination and balance, and confusion and/or alteration of cognitive abilities.


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Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-27

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