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When illness strikes it can be a costly business. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, global spending on medicines in 2014 will reach $1 trillion, while health insurance for an average American family in 2013 cost $16,000, according to research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

Across the Atlantic, net expenditure for the U.K.'s publicly funded National Health Service (NHS) was £105 billion ($171 billion) in the tax year 2012/13, while per capita spending was £1,979 in 2010/11. Per capita spending in the United States was $8,608 in 2011.

For most people living in the developed world, medicine and healthcare is relatively accessible. Yet for those living in the developing world, even access to basic sanitation and clean drinking water is a daily struggle.

Here, we take a look at the 10 leading causes of death in the world according to 2011 data – the most recent available – from the World Health Organisation (WHO), and assess the impact they have on both individuals and their countries' economies.

By Anmar Frangoul, Special to CNBC.com

Ippei Naoi | Flickr | Getty Images