Many of us have a fear of drowning or burning to death. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), however, we’re more likely to die in other ways. Here are the ten leading causes of death in the United States.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there are approximately 123 suicides each day. Most of the victims are middle-aged white males, who accounted for 7 out of every 10 suicides in 2016. In fact, men are nearly four times as likely than women to commit suicide. Those 85 years of age and older had the second highest rate. Youngsters tend to consistently have lower suicide rates.
-The state of Montana saw the highest suicide rate in 2016, at 26.01 suicides per 100,000 people. In 2012, suicides in Wyoming peaked at 29.77 per 100,000. FYI, Montana and Wyoming are neighboring states.
-More than half of all suicide deaths in 2016 involved a firearm.
9. Nephritis, Nephrotic Syndrome and Nephrosis (a.k.a. Kidney Disease)
Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the American Kidney Fund, men with chronic kidney disease are 50 percent more likely than women to experience kidney failure. Certain ethnic groups are also more likely to experience kidney failure. These include African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, and Hispanics.
In 2016, the highest kidney disease death rates were in the South and Midwest, in particular, the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
INTERESTING FACT: The number one and number two causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure.
8. Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I)
Over 57,000 people died from P&I in 2016, the CDC said. Most of those deaths occurred in the southeastern U.S., specifically in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Other states that saw high rates included New York, Nevada, South Dakota, and Hawaii.
The elderly are at greatest risk of seasonal flu complications and death, but children are vulnerable to serious flu-related complications as well, especially those younger than 2 years and those with long-term health problems such as asthma, heart disease, or neurological disorders.
FYI, seasonal flu may lead to death from other causes, like pneumonia. In fact, influenza is a common cause of viral pneumonia. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children younger than five years old worldwide. Others at risk include smokers and those with underlying medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
According to the CDC, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2015. In fact, diabetes claims more lives each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Native Americans, particularly those in Alaska and in the Southwest, had the highest prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in 2015, with 14.9 percent of men and 15.3 percent of women. Prevalence among seniors is also high, with 25.2 percent, or 12 million, diagnosed and undiagnosed cases in 2015.
Risk factors for developing diabetes include:
-high blood pressure
-family medical history of diabetes
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death among all American adults and the fifth leading cause of death among those 65 years of age and older. According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, deaths due to Alzheimer’s increased 55 percent between 1999 and 2014. Most of these deaths occur in a nursing home or long-term care facility but are increasingly occurring at the patient’s home. In fact, deaths at home were up from 14 percent in 1999 to 25 percent in 2014. The Southeast saw the highest Alzheimer’s death rates, but rates were also high in the Midwest and along the West Coast.
FYI, the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.–even though the disease is preventable. More than 140,000 people die annually from a stroke–most of them being women. According to the CDC, one in five women in the U.S. will have a stroke in their lifetime. Since women live longer than men and because stroke risk increases with age, it makes sense that most stroke victims are female. In fact, 6 out of 10 people who die from stroke are women. Here’s another fact: African American women are more likely than any other group to suffer a stroke. This is largely due to the fact that many African American women also have diabetes, high blood pressure and are overweight or obese–all risk factors that increases the odds of having a stroke.
DID YOU KNOW?
Pregnancy and birth control pills increase your risk of suffering a stroke.
Roughly 3,287 people die in road crashes each day worldwide–many of them being young people. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automobile crashes were the leading cause of death for children 10 and 11 years old and young people 16 to 23 years old in the U.S. in 2016.
-Almost all road fatalities happen in countries that have less than half of the world’s vehicles.
-Automobile crashes are the second leading cause of death worldwide among children aged 5-14.
-Nearly 8,000 people are killed every year in crashes involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 20.
-Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens when traveling abroad.
3. Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases
Chronic lower respiratory diseases, which includes COPD diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, became the third leading cause of death among Americans in 2008. In fact, 140,000 deaths are caused by chronic respiratory diseases annually. Smokers are most likely to be at risk of developing chronic lower respiratory disease. Those exposed to air pollutants are also at risk. Additionally, genetics may play a role as well.
According to the CDC, the people most likely to report having COPD are:
-Seniors between the ages of 65 and 74
-Those who are retired, unemployed, or unable to work
-Those with less than a high school education
-Those who are divorced, widowed, or separated
-Current or former smokers
-Those with a history of asthma
FYI, chronic lower respiratory diseases are preventable.
According to the American Cancer Society, both males and females have a 1 in 5 chance of dying from some form of cancer. African-Americans, however, have a much higher risk than whites–25 percent higher, to be exact. What’s more is that children of color–specifically Blacks and Latinos–are more likely than whites to die from childhood cancer. The reason? Socioeconomic status. Kids living in poverty are at a greater risk for developing, and dying from, cancer. “People with a lower socioeconomic status are exposed to more carcinogens than more affluent people,” an NPR article said. “And kids may face challenges getting screenings or treatments, for example, if their parents have trouble affording transportation or taking time off of work.”
1. Heart Disease
Here’s another preventable disease, yet it’s the number one killer in the U.S. One in every four deaths in the U.S. each year is due to heart disease. It’s the leading cause of death among both men AND women, but it affects men slightly more–over half of the people who died from heart disease in 2009 were men. Heart disease is also the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the U.S., with the exception of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Asians or Pacific Islanders, who are more likely to die from cancer.
There are several key risk factors for heart disease:
-high blood pressure
-excessive alcohol use
Based on this list, it’s safe to conclude that we’re more likely to die from some illness than from something accidental, or even intentional. With that said, now’s the time to start taking better care of yourself. No, you won’t live forever by doing that, but it can help you enjoy the time you have left. After all, being sick is no field day! Thanks for reading, and take care of yourselves.