Top ten causes of death in US

Top ten causes of death in US

Last Reviewed : 12/22/2020
Top ten causes of death in US

  • Heart disease: Heart disease is the most common cause of death among the Americans. Though it is confined by age, it is not confined by sex. It is common both in men and women. Coronary artery disease is a condition where plaque builds up in the lumen of narrow arteries of the heart. Plaque decreases supply of blood to the heart and leads to heart attack. Heart failure, arrhythmias are other diseases of the heart. Early recognition of symptoms, aggressive treatment and lifestyle modification can significantly decrease the mortality of heart diseases.
  • Cancers: Cancers are the second leading cause of deaths in US. Cancer or neoplasm is the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of tissue in the body. These abnormally growing tissues also have the ability to spread to other normal tissues of the body. When such cells invade the essential systems of the body, death occurs. Most common cancers in America include the breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancers. Though some cancers have genetic predisposition, others can be prevented by avoiding excessive smoking, alcohol consumption and some through vaccination against certain viruses.
  • Respiratory diseases: These are the third most common cause of deaths. Chronic lower respiratory disease is a collection of lung diseases that causes breathing related issues and obstruction to flow of air through the respiratory tree. It mainly involves COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) but also involves bronchitis, emphysema and bronchial asthma. They can be avoided by quitting smoking, avoiding dust and polluted air.
  • Accidents: Motor vehicle Accidents are the fourth leading cause of death in United States. Unlike other diseases which are more common in elderly, these are common in children, youngsters and even up to middle aged people and less common after that. Most common injuries involved with motor vehicle accidents are head injuries, spine injuries, thorax injuries, injuries to major abdominal organs like spleen, liver, aorta, etc. In such cases death can occur due major injuries or even due to excessive blood loss. Survivors of motor vehicle accidents often suffer from psychological trauma.
  • Stroke: Strokes are the fifth most common cause of deaths. Strokes can happen due to bleeding within the brain or infarction of the brain by lack of blood supply caused by a thrombus (a blood clot in the vessels that occludes blood supply) or an embolus (a blood clot, air bubble, piece of fatty deposit, or other object which has been carried in the bloodstream to lodge in a vessel). Early recognition and fast treatment can reduce the brain damage that stroke can cause. Stroke can be prevented by adopting a few lifestyle modifications like a healthy diet, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and managing blood pressure, cholesterol levels.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: It is the sixth leading cause. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by degeneration of brain cells, leading to memory loss, confusion and deterioration of mental function. There is no existing cure for this condition but treatment helps slowing down the progress of the disease. Providing close supervision for individuals affected with Alzheimer’s disease is important.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes and its related complications are the seventh leading cause of deaths in US. Diabetes occurs either because insulin production in the body is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience frequent urination, excessive thirst and hunger. Type 2 diabetes that usually occurs in adults can cause kidney damage, heart disease and blindness. It is a leading cause of death in both men and women.
  • Influenza and pneumonia: account for eight leading cause of death. Influenza can lead to pneumonia and other severe respiratory problems leading to deaths in several individuals. Although getting a Flu vaccine does not completely prevent flu, it reduces the risks and complications related to pneumonia.
  • Kidney disease: Nephritis, Nephrotic syndrome and Nephrosis are various forms of kidney disease that are responsible for the ninth most common cause of deaths in US. Chronic kidney disease eventually leads to renal failure, which can be treated either with dialysis or kidney transplant. Repeated dialysis has it is own set of problems and complications. Renal failure eventually leads to death, either due to accumulation of toxins, fluid overload or metabolic disturbances.
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): Suicides are the tenth leading cause. Suicides have considerably increased in the recent times. Depression, Bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and many other mental disorders affect the health and wellbeing of people.




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