The Most Popular Illness: Exploring Common Ailments and Conditions

Choose the illness you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 11, 2024 07:13
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinions matter! Today, we're diving into the fascinating realm of illnesses, and we're asking YOU to help us rank the most popular ones! You heard it right - from the common cold to the most complex diseases, we're curating a list of the most talked-about, studied, and debated illnesses in the world. So, whether you're a germophile or just curious about what makes people tick (and cough), this is the poll for you! Cast your vote, share your thoughts, or even suggest a missing option; together, we'll uncover the ultimate ranking of the most popular illnesses. Don't miss your chance to be part of this viral conversation - join the debate now!

What Is the Most Popular Illness?

  1. 1
    A highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It is spread through respiratory droplets and can cause mild to severe symptoms, including fever, cough, and body aches.
    Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects the respiratory system. It is caused by influenza viruses, which belong to the Orthomyxoviridae family. The flu can range from mild to severe and can sometimes result in complications and even death.
    • Transmission: Person-to-person through respiratory droplets.
    • Symptoms: Fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, nasal congestion.
    • Seasonality: Commonly occurs in the winter months (in temperate regions).
    • Mortality Rate: Varies each flu season but estimated overall at around 0.1%.
    • Vaccine Availability: Vaccines are available and recommended annually.
  2. 2
    Common cold
    Thomas Splettstoesser ( · CC BY-SA 4.0
    A viral infection that affects the upper respiratory system. It is spread through contact with infected people or surfaces and can cause symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, and cough.
    The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the nose and throat. It is a contagious illness that spreads through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or touching infected surfaces. The common cold is typically mild and self-limiting, with symptoms lasting for about a week. It is one of the most widespread illnesses worldwide, affecting individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
    • Transmission: Spread through respiratory droplets
    • Causes: Multiple types of viruses (rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus, etc.)
    • Incubation period: 1-3 days
    • Symptoms: Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, mild headache, fatigue
    • Duration: Typically resolves within 7-10 days
  3. 3
    A chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels. It is caused by a deficiency in insulin production or an inability to use insulin effectively and can lead to serious complications such as heart disease and kidney failure.
    Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels that result from the body's inability to produce or effectively utilize insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. The two main types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, and type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
    • Prevalence: Diabetes affects an estimated 463 million adults worldwide.
    • Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes usually develops during childhood or adolescence and requires lifelong insulin therapy.
    • Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is often associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and poor diet.
    • Complications: Untreated or poorly managed diabetes can lead to various complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and vision loss.
    • Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and can increase the risk of complications for both the mother and the baby.
  4. 4
    A common condition in which the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high. It can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke.
    Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition characterized by elevated blood pressure in the arteries. It occurs when the force of blood against the artery walls is consistently too high, putting strain on the heart and blood vessels. Hypertension is a major risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
    • Prevalence: Hypertension affects approximately 1.13 billion people worldwide, making it one of the most common chronic health conditions.
    • Blood Pressure Levels: Normal blood pressure is typically defined as 120/80 mmHg. Hypertension is typically classified as having systolic blood pressure equal to or above 130 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure equal to or above 80 mmHg.
    • Types of Hypertension: There are two primary types of hypertension: primary (essential) hypertension, which has no identifiable cause, and secondary hypertension, which is caused by an underlying health condition such as kidney disease or hormonal disorders.
    • Risk Factors: Risk factors for developing hypertension include age, family history, obesity, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, high sodium intake, and certain medical conditions.
    • Symptoms: Hypertension is often referred to as a silent killer because it typically has no noticeable symptoms. However, in some cases, individuals may experience symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or nosebleeds.
  5. 5
    A mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It can affect a person's daily life and can lead to serious consequences such as suicide.
    Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. It can affect a person's thoughts, emotions, behavior, and overall functioning, leading to significant impairments in daily life.
    • Prevalence: Depression is a highly prevalent disorder worldwide, affecting an estimated 264 million people of all ages.
    • Duration: Depression typically lasts for a minimum of two weeks or longer, although it can become a chronic condition for some individuals.
    • Symptoms: Common symptoms of depression include persistent sadness, loss of interest, changes in appetite and weight, sleep disturbances, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
    • Diagnostic Criteria: Depression is diagnosed based on criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association.
    • Treatments: Treatment options for depression include psychotherapy, medication (such as antidepressants), lifestyle modifications, and support from mental health professionals.
  6. 6
    A mental health disorder characterized by excessive worry, fear, and nervousness. It can affect a person's daily life and can lead to serious consequences such as panic attacks.
    Anxiety is a complex and often overwhelming emotion characterized by feelings of worry, fear, and unease. It is typically associated with a perceived threat or imminent danger, although it can also occur without a clear reason. Anxiety can manifest both mentally and physically, leading to symptoms such as restlessness, difficulty concentrating, rapid heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension. It can interfere with daily activities, relationships, and overall well-being.
    • Common Symptoms: Restlessness, irritability, trouble concentrating, racing thoughts, sleep disturbances, muscle tension, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, gastrointestinal discomfort.
    • Types of Anxiety Disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Specific Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Separation Anxiety Disorder.
    • Prevalence: Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions globally, affecting around 284 million people.
    • Impact on Daily Life: Anxiety can significantly impair a person's ability to carry out daily activities, perform at work or school, maintain relationships, and enjoy leisure time.
    • Treatment Options: Psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy), medication (e.g., selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), relaxation techniques, lifestyle changes (e.g., regular exercise, stress management), support groups.
  7. 7
    A chronic respiratory condition characterized by episodes of wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. It is caused by inflammation and narrowing of the airways.
    Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, leading to difficulty in breathing. It is a common illness affecting millions of people worldwide, causing recurring episodes of wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath. Asthma symptoms can be triggered by various factors like allergens, exercise, respiratory infections, and irritants such as smoke or pollution.
    • Prevalence: Affects around 300 million people globally
    • Causes: Combination of genetic and environmental factors
    • Symptoms: Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath
    • Triggers: Allergens, exercise, respiratory infections, irritants
    • Diagnosis: Medical history, physical exam, lung function tests, allergy testing
  8. 8
    A common condition characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. It can affect people of all ages and can lead to serious disability.
  9. 9
    A neurological condition characterized by severe headaches that can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
    Migraine is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches that often occur with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. It is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide and can significantly impact daily life and productivity.
    • Prevalence: Approximately 1 in 7 people worldwide suffer from migraines.
    • Duration: Migraine attacks can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.
    • Aura: Around 25% of migraine sufferers experience visual, sensory, or language disturbances known as auras before the headache phase.
    • Triggers: Common triggers include stress, certain foods, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and environmental factors.
    • Gender: Migraines are three times more common in women than in men.
  10. 10
    A group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. It can affect any part of the body and can lead to serious health problems and death.
    Cancer is the fourth astrological sign in the Zodiac and is represented by the Crab. It is considered one of the most amazing signs due to its nurturing and compassionate nature. Cancer individuals are known for their emotional depth, loyalty, and strong intuition. They are sensitive and empathetic, making them great listeners and friends. They have a strong sense of family and home, and prioritize creating a safe and secure environment for themselves and their loved ones. Additionally, Cancerians are often highly imaginative and creative, with a strong connection to their emotions and intuition.
    • Element: Water
    • Ruling Planet: Moon
    • Quality: Cardinal
    • Symbol: Crab
    • Lucky Colors: White, Silver

Missing your favorite illness?


Ranking factors for popular illness

  1. Prevalence
    The number of people affected by the illness in a given population, usually expressed as a percentage or ratio. The higher the prevalence, the more popular the illness.
  2. Incidence rate
    The number of new cases of the illness occurring within a specified time period, such as a month or a year. High incidence rates may indicate that the illness is becoming more popular.
  3. Geographic distribution
    The spread of the illness across different countries and regions. If an illness is present in multiple locations, it is likely to be more popular.
  4. Severity and duration
    The intensity and duration of the illness' symptoms can also be an indicator of its popularity. A more severe and long-lasting illness may be more commonly discussed and recognized.
  5. Mortality rate
    The number of deaths caused by the illness. The higher the mortality rate, the more attention an illness is likely to receive, potentially making it more popular.
  6. Impact on quality of life
    Illnesses that significantly impact a person's ability to work, socialize, or perform daily activities can be considered more popular due to their high visibility and need for treatment.
  7. Media and public awareness
    The level of media coverage and public awareness of an illness can also influence its popularity. If an illness is widely discussed in the news and social media, it is likely to gain more attention, making it more popular.
  8. Treatment availability and effectiveness
    The accessibility and success of treatments for an illness can also contribute to its popularity. If there are limited or ineffective treatments available, an illness may become more popular due to the high level of unmet need for better treatment options.
  9. Economic burden
    The financial impact of an illness, including direct medical costs and indirect costs related to lost productivity, can also contribute to its popularity. High economic burden can lead to increased public and governmental interest in addressing the illness.
  10. Societal impact
    The overall influence of an illness on society, such as its effect on family structures, the economy, and public policy, can also play a role in determining its popularity. Illnesses with significant societal impact may receive more attention and resources, making them more popular.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular illness. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or illness is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 181 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each illness once every 24 hours. The rank of each illness is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular illness

Illness is an unfortunate aspect of life that affects us all at some point. Whether it's the common cold or a more severe condition, illnesses can have a significant impact on our daily lives. However, some illnesses are more popular than others, meaning they're more common or widespread. Identifying the most popular illnesses can help us understand how to prevent and treat them effectively. From chronic conditions like diabetes to acute infections like the flu, there are many contenders for the title of the most popular illness. Let's take a closer look at some of the most common illnesses and what makes them so prevalent.

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