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The 10 Most Common Causes of Death in the US, No. 10 May Surprise You

7544107 - elderly person with nurse
7544107 – elderly person with nurse

Death isn’t pleasant to think about or talk about, but it’s the one thing that all of us have to face, no matter who we are. In the United States, scientists from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compile a list every year that show the top 10-15 leading causes of death. The reason this list is important is that when we have the data, we are able as a nation to work on prevention and cures.

Here are the top 10 leading causes of death in the US, starting with no. 10, which may be surprising to most of us.

10. Suicide
Shockingly, suicide is on the rise and has been put on the list of the leading causes of death. According to a statistician at the CDC, suicide has hovered between no. 10 and 15, but lately it has been staying in the top 10.

9. Kidney disease
This includes a range of kidney related issues, including kidney failure or renal disease. A large part of the statistics for kidney disease are likely related to other common diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. So some could say it’s more of a secondary cause rather than primary.

8. The flu and pneumonia
The statistics get a little sticky here. Lumping influenza and pneumonia related deaths make it sound like they’re all related to the flu. However, the CDC explained that a lot of the deaths stemming from pneumonia are from cases such as elderly people who may be in the hospital for something else and eventually develop pneumonia simply from being in a stationary position for too long. So in reality only about 20%  of these deaths actually come from the flu.

7. Diabetes
Diabetes has stayed pretty steadily on the top 10 list over the last decade. It probably should be higher up on the list, because as it turns out, death from diabetes is under reported, because on the death certificate, it is often not listed as the primary cause of death.

6. Alzheimer’s disease
Reported deaths from Alzheimer’s disease has been creeping up the list, but the CDC says this may be more from better diagnosis than actual increases in the rates of disease. Alzheimer’s deaths have sometimes been reported as dementia, and that is a separate category.

5. Stroke
Stroke is similar, but different from heart disease because it involves blood vessels and is centered on the brain. It is interesting to note that stroke used to be much higher on this list, but has dropped a lot, as medical technology has improved to the point that cardiovascular disease in general is being treated much more effectively, and prevention strategies are effective as well.

4. Accidents
In this category are: accidental falls and injuries, motor accidents and accidental drug overdose. Deaths from motor accidents greatly declined after seat belts and car seats became the regulation.

3. Chronic lower respiratory disease
Deaths from this category are largely related to cigarette smoke – whether firsthand or secondhand. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) makes up the majority of deaths here.

2. Cancer
Cancer is on the rise and the statistics show it. Ironically, many of the cancer deaths come from lung cancer, which is due to smoking.

1. Heart disease
Heart disease as been the no. 1 killer for a long time now. However, statistics show that the number of actual deaths from heart disease have gone down.







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Sarah P

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