Leading Causes of Death in the United States
As certain as we all are about death in the sense that we know we will all die at some point, it is not known to any of us how, when or where these deaths will occur. However, some government agencies have tried to identify some of the leading causes of deaths in the United States. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is one of the agents that is concerned with this information and keeps regular updates of such data. In this article, we use the information provided by the CDC, to expound on the leading causes of death in the United States.
1. Heart Disease
The number of deaths that occur due to heart-related disease is approximately 633,842 every year. The number which is equivalent to 24% of the total number of deaths is significantly alarming. Heart disease is common among men, people over the age of 50, smokers, overweight individuals, and families with a history of the disease.
Heart disease occurs when blood flow is limited in the body which leads to conditions such as heart attack and stroke. The primary prevention against heart disease is to quit smoking, dietary control, and exercising regularly.
The second leading cause of death among US citizens is Cancer. According to the CDC, Cancer accounts for 591,930 which is approximately 22% of the annual total number of deaths. Cancer is of different types and affects different body organs, but it`s commonly caused by the growth of abnormal cells. Some of the predisposing factors to this disease include; taking an excessive amount of alcohol or tobacco, obesity, and family history of the disease.
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) suggests that a significant number of cancers are preventable. However, others which are as a result of medical issues can only be prevented through protective vaccinations. Some of the preventive measures against cancer that WCRF recommends are; eating healthy foods, limiting alcohol and tobacco intake, and increasing physical activity.
3. Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases
Chronic lower respiratory diseases refer to lung infections that cause breathing and airflow problems. The approximate number of annual deaths caused by these diseases is 155,041 which accounts for 6% of total deaths. Some of the symptoms of this disease are; persistent coughs, breathing difficulties, and recurrent chest infections.
The disease is caused by bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the US, smoking of tobacco is the leading issue in the development and advancement of this disease. However, exposure to air pollution may also lead to such complications.
Accidents in this context refer to all unintentional injuries that lead to death. Accidents lead to an approximate 146,571 number of deaths annually in the US. The number is equivalent to 5% of the total number of deaths annually. Accidents are unforeseeable and can therefore not be prevented. However, it is possible to reduce the risk factors that lead to accidents such as road, personal, and workplace accidents. Subsequently, insurance companies have designed products to cover their clients against most of these risks to help in the event of an accident.
Stroke is a condition that takes place when the blood supply to the brain is stopped leading to the death of brain cells. In the US, stroke is estimated to lead to approximately 140,323 deaths annually. Stroke is one among other cerebrovascular diseases which also includes vascular dementia, Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.
The risk of a stroke attack varies due to age, ethnicity, and race with most attacks recorded in the Southeast US. Common symptoms of the disease are; numbness of body parts especially one side of the body, confusion, and having trouble walking. Some prevention measures against stroke include; eating healthy, staying hydrated, quit smoking, and checking body weight.
6. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer`s disease is attributed to 110,561 deaths annually which are 4% of the total deaths. It is a type of dementia which results from damaged brain neurons. The damage leads to impairment and inability to carry out common body functions. Alzheimer`s is a fatal condition and severe effects cause bed rest and round the clock check-ups. Consequently, the condition is neither preventable, controllable or even slowed down.
7. Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes mellitus commonly known as diabetes occurs mainly due to pancreas failure and can be either type 1 or type 2. It is estimated that diabetes causes 79,535 deaths annually that is, 2.9% of annual deaths. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin while type 2 occurs when the body is resistant to the insulin. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, but a change in lifestyle greatly helps in preventing type 2 diabetes. That is, eating a health rich diet, exercise regularly, and maintaining body weight.
8. Pneumonia and Influenza
Pneumonia refers to an inflammation or infection of the lungs while influenza or the flu is a contagious infection common during winter. The illness leads to an average of 57,062 or 2.2% of annual deaths. Some of the common signs and symptoms of the flu include; frequent headaches, coughs, muscle aches, and sore throats. On the other hand, the signs of pneumonia include; rapid breathing, loss of appetite, general body weakness, fever, and chest pains. Vaccination is a common way of preventing the diseases, through annual vaccination for influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia.
Intentional harm or suicide accounts for approximately 44,193 or 1.7% of annual deaths. A significant number of the US population have been reported as having suicidal thoughts, plans, and even making suicidal attempts. Suicide takes place when a person makes plans to harm himself or herself and ends up doing it. While risk factors may vary with age, ethnicity, or race, it is common among people suffering from depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and people who have a history of attempting suicide.
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