Croatia is one of the smaller countries in the world with just over four million people currently living in the country. The average life expectancy in Croatia is 77 years, which is higher than the average life expectancy worldwide, which is 71 years according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Females are expected to live longer than the males in Croatia. The most major diseases in Croatia mostly contribute to deaths from an older age group.

The top two causes of deaths in Croatia pertain to the heart and the vascular system. Topping the list is ischemic heart disease (IHD), which caused 12 percent more deaths in 2015 than in 2005. IHD is the leading cause of premature death in Croatia, and it has held this spot for more than 10 years. In this way, IHD has become quite a large problem for Croatia. The second-highest cause of death in the country is cerebrovascular disease; it has maintained the second spot for years as well.

Cancer holds the next few spots on the list of top diseases in Croatia. One disease which has risen in prevalence in Croatia is Alzheimer’s disease, which kills 45 percent more people in the country than it did in 2005. Alzheimer’s has affected many people around the world, and it is now on the rise in Croatia as well. It has risen one spot on the list from fifth place to fourth place in the span of 10 years.

Rounding out the list of top diseases in Croatia is COPD, hypertensive heart disease, falls, diabetes and breast cancer. Falls are the only entry on the list that is an injury; the rest are non-communicable diseases. The most prevalent communicable disease on the list is the 14th entry: lower respiratory infections.

Risk factors in Croatia that can cause some of these diseases to begin or persist include dietary risks, high blood pressure and tobacco, alcohol and drug use, among others. These are major risks behind the list of premature and preventable deaths in Croatia.

When traveling to Croatia, there are many vaccines that should be up-to-date or received for the first time weeks in advance of the trip. These vaccines include those for hepatitis A and B, as well as the rabies vaccine.

The most prevalent diseases in Croatia mirror some of the major diseases found in other countries around the world. Cancers and heart diseases are some of the highest causes of death and disease worldwide. This is a trend that needs to be taken seriously, along with every other disease on the list.

Brendin Axtman

Photo: Flickr