• Home
  • Posts
  • The Top 10 Leading Causes of Death in The United States

Table of Contents

According to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics state that in 2018 the death rate in the United States decreased by 1.1% from the year prior. The main causes of death have remained consistent over the past 5 years. There were 2,814,503 registered deaths in the United States in 2017.

Around 74% of all death in the United States has been the result of 10 causes. The top 10 causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease, cerebrovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide. More than half of the people that die from heart disease are men. Plaque develops and causes the arteries to narrow which makes it difficult for blood to flow around the body and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. It can also result in arrhythmias, angina, and heart failure.

  • Total deaths: 23.5%
  • Deaths in 2017: 647,457

To reduce the risk of getting heart disease, a person can adopt a healthy diet and exercise.

Recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack can prompt someone to get help and potentially save their lives.

Cancer

Cancer occurs when cells do not die at a normal rate. The spread of these cells can interfere with other healthy cells in the body and can potentially cause death.

Everyone is at risk, but most cancers appear later in life. People exposed to certain carcinogens like smoking or exposure to chemical pollutants are at risk of getting cancer. Genetics also play a role in developing cancer as well as race and sex. Lung cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer in both men and women.

  • Total deaths: 21.3%
  • Deaths in 2017: 599,108

The American Cancer Society estimates that the leading cause of death from cancer in males will be:

  • Bronchus & lung cancer: 76,650 deaths
  • Prostate cancer: 31,620 deaths
  • Colorectal cancer: 27,640 deaths

The leading cause of death from cancer in females will be:

  • Bronchus & lung cancer: 66,020 deaths
  • Breast cancer: 41,760 deaths
  • Colorectal cancer: 23,380 deaths

However, the death rate of all cancers has dropped by 26% since 1991 in the United States.

Unintentional Injuries

Accidents or unintentional injuries are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. The age group most affected ranges for those aged 1-44.

  • Total Deaths: 6%
  • Deaths in 2017: 169,936
Preventative Measures

Accidents are unintentional and avoidable. However, there are ways to reduce the risk of injury and death.

Some of these preventions include workplace safety and practicing caution on the roadways. Always use a seatbelt and never drive while intoxicated or operate heavy machinery on the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Slip and falls are also common occurrences of resulting in unintentional injuries. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident and were injured as a result, contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease

Chronic lower respiratory disease is a lung condition that blocks the airflow and causes issues in breathing.

These respiratory diseases include:

  • Asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Smoking can drastically increase your risk of developing these conditions.

Cerebrovascular Diseases

Cerebrovascular diseases develop as a result of problems with the blood vessels.

The most common cerebrovascular diseases are:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Stroke
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • A transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke

More than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke every year. The risk of getting a stroke varies with age, ethnicity, and race.

The highest death rates from stroke occur in the Southeast of the United States.

  • Total deaths: 5.2%
  • Deaths in 2017: 146,383

Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia is a group of conditions that cause a decline in cognitive function. This type of condition affects a person from performing everyday activities.

Damage to the nerve cells in the brain causes dementia. Neurons can no longer function and die. Symptoms can lead to memory loss, behavior, and the ability to think rationally.

Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia. Vascular dementia is another type that can cause similar symptoms but results from changes in the blood flow to the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease results in neuron damage and death that can impair a person to perform actions such as swallowing and walking.

This disease is fatal. In the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a person may not be able to get out of bed and will require full attention.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.8 million people in the United States currently have Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2050, the number may rise to 14 million people as life expectancy continues to increase.

  • Total deaths: 4.3%
  • Deaths in 2017: 121,404

Alzheimer’s disease is the only top 1o leading cause of death that medical professionals cannot cure, prevent, or slow down.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot control blood glucose which can lead to high levels of blood glucose. This condition is called hyperglycemia.

Persistent hyperglycemia can damage the body’s tissues, nerves, blood vessels, and eyes.

The two main types of diabetes are:

  • Type 1
  • Type 2

People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin so they need to supply their body with insulin. People with type 2 diabetes are not able to use insulin effectively and will result in very low levels of insulin in the body.

  • Total deaths: 3%
  • Deaths in 2017: 83,564

With careful dietary management and exercise, people with type 2 diabetes are able to control their risk.

Diabetes can also cause:

  • Kidney failure
  • Blindness
  • Heart disease
  • Amputation of the lower extremities

Influenza & Pneumonia

Influenza also referred to as the flu is highly contagious and the most severe illnesses occur in the winter months.

The flu can spread easily from person to person. The three different influenza families are A, B, and C. Type A virus is the most severe, type B viruses most often cause health problems in children, and type C viruses are the least common.

  • Total deaths: 2%
  • Deaths in 2017: 55,672

Pneumonia is a serious condition that causes inflammation of the lungs and results in complications with people who have the flu. Pneumonia causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill with pus and other fluids preventing oxygen from reaching the bloodstream.

Kidney Disease

Nephrosis, nephritis, and nephrotic syndrome are conditions that affect the kidneys.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes damage in the kidneys. Waste in the blood is not able to leave the body and may lead to other health problems.

In the United States, 30 million people may have CKD and people over the age of 60 are at an increased risk as well as having a family history of CKD. High blood pressure and diabetes are most likely to cause CKD.

  • Total deaths: 1.8%
  • Deaths in 2017: 50,633

Chronic kidney disease does not usually cause any symptoms until the final stages. Regular screenings can however reduce a person’s risk from dying of kidney disease.

Suicide

A mental health condition is the most common cause of suicide. These conditions include depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.

However, not everyone who attempts suicide or dies have mental health conditions.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged 10-34 years.

  • Deaths in 2017: 47,173

Prevention

A lot of the top 10 causes of death in the United States can be prevented while others are inevitable. Adopting a healthy diet and exercising can greatly reduce the risk of developing health problems. Driving cautiously on the road and implementing safety measures in the workplace can reduce the risk of accidents from occurring.

Unintentional accidents and injuries are at a very high rate of deaths in the United States. We understand that unintentional accidents and injuries at times may be unavoidable. We want to help and will fight to collect the compensation you deserve. Send us a message via our live chat or fill out our free consultation form. You can also call us at (281) 990-5200.