(HealthyResearch.com) – The end might be a tough subject to face, but it’s one none of us can escape. No one can predict how any of us will go, but we are more likely to pass away from certain causes. Curious to know how most of us are likely to die? Here are the top 10 causes of death in the United States, according to the CDC.
1. Heart Disease: 655,381 Deaths Each Year
One-quarter of all US deaths are complications of heart disease, making it the country’s number-one killer. Smokers and people with high blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels are at the highest risk. Diabetics, people who are overweight, physically inactive or drink heavily are also more likely to die from this condition.
2. Cancer: 599,274 Deaths Each Year
Cancer occurs when the cells in the body take on DNA damage that causes them to divide out of control. It’s not one single disease, but a collection of conditions that all behave in similar ways. Not all cancers form tumors, but all of them do interfere with the body’s ability to function normally. A person’s chances of survival depend on the type of cancer and how long it’s been there, but many forms are terminal without treatment.
Cigarette smoke is responsible for 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer, but it can also contribute to cancer in almost any area of the body. Quitting smoking can drastically reduce a person’s chances of developing many of these cancers.
3. Accidents: 167,127 Deaths Each Year
According to the CDC, accidental deaths fall into three major groups: poisonings (62,399 deaths), traffic accidents (37,991 deaths) and falls (37,455 deaths). Alcohol and drug abuse contribute to a good portion of these deaths, with accidental overdoses accounting for nearly 35% of unintentional deaths. Alcohol and other drugs are also involved in about 44% of fatal car crashes.
4. Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases: 159,486 Deaths Each Year
Lung diseases can have numerous causes, but they all lead to increased risks of death from respiratory, circulatory or cellular changes. The deadliest lower respiratory conditions are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease and pulmonary sarcoidosis:
- COPD occurs when the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and damaged, making them less able to exchange air. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are both forms of COPD, and they’re both typically the result of smoking or exposure to damaging chemicals.
- Interstitial lung disease can stem from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, genetic issues like Gaucher disease or lung damage. According to Cleveland Clinic, it generally causes an unproductive cough, exercise intolerance and weight loss.
- Pulmonary sarcoidosis causes tiny lumps of inflammation called granulomas to interfere with the lungs’ normal functioning. Other symptoms can include night sweats, fever, inflammation of the eyes, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue. Experts are still unsure of the cause, but they do know chronic inflammation is a factor.
5. Stroke: 147,810 Deaths Each Year
Strokes comprise about one in every six cardiovascular deaths, according to the CDC. The majority are ischemic strokes, which means they’re caused by clots blocking circulation to the brain. A transient ischemic attack (TIA or “mini-stroke”) is a type of ischemic event that is often a warning sign of a major stroke ahead. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when there’s a bleed in the brain, like from an aneurysm.
People most likely to suffer from strokes include those with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Smoking also increases a person’s risks.
6. Alzheimer’s Disease: 122,019 Deaths Each Year
This form of dementia, which is always eventually fatal, usually begins with cognitive changes like difficulties finding words and shifts in reasoning or judgment. From there, sufferers develop memory issues and may become confused easily. They might hallucinate or start having paranoid thoughts and delusions.
As the disease progresses, parts of the body typically shut down, leaving the patient bedridden and unable to function. The cause is still a mystery, but experts believe a combination of factors, including genetics, environmental triggers and lifestyle choices, likely contribute.
7. Diabetes: 84,946 Deaths Each Year
Diabetes affects about 34 million people in the United States, according to the CDC. Up to 95% of cases are type 2, the result of insulin resistance, which means the body doesn’t use insulin effectively enough to control blood sugar levels.
Complications, which can include heart disease and kidney damage, can significantly increase mortality risks. Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce a person’s chances of developing these and other diabetes-related health issues.
8. Influenza and Pneumonia: 59,120 Deaths Each Year
Most cases of seasonal flu resolve on their own without causing too serious of issues. However, some cases progress into deadly pneumonia, which is usually the result of a secondary bacterial infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae or Staphylococcus aureus.
Serious flu infections are most common in people older than 65, younger than 5 or suffering from asthma, diabetes or heart disease. Pregnant women are also at higher risk of suffering severe illness and related complications.
9. Kidney Disease: 51,386 Deaths Each Year
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) usually comes alongside other health issues; high blood pressure and diabetes are the most common comorbidities. It presents in two major ways. Nephritis is an inflammation of the part of the kidneys that filter the blood, leading to damage and eventually kidney failure. It can have infectious, autoimmune, or drug-related causes.
Nephrotic syndrome or nephrosis occurs when the kidneys become inefficient in filtering out contaminants, leading to a leakage of protein in the urine. It’s most often associated with diabetes and lupus, but other health issues can also cause it. People with this condition often develop edema in the legs and feet, sometimes also in the hands and face.
10. Suicide: 48,344 Deaths Each Year
About 479,000 people are hospitalized each year from intentional self-injuries, with about one-tenth of suicide attempts ending in death. The majority of successful suicides involve firearms, followed by suffocations and poisonings.
Suicide is often an act of desperation performed by people who are too clouded by despair to see that other solutions exist — and other solutions always exist. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 for help.
People die from more causes than these but in far fewer numbers. Remember that even lightning strikes kill an unlucky 49 people each year, so we need to be vigilant about all potential threats to avoid becoming statistics. Many of these causes of death are preventable, with lifestyle factors contributing to a good portion of unnecessary deaths. People who are concerned about doing more for their health should talk to their doctors about what they can do to live longer, healthier lives.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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