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HHS Releases Report of U.S. Top 10 Causes of Death

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A National Vital Statistics Report was recently released by the Department of Health and Human services ranking the top 10 causes of death in the United States.   This article will provide an overview of the top causes and you may be surprised by some of the data.

HHS Releases Report of U.S. Top 10 Causes of Death

A recent National Vital Statistics Report, released by the Department of Health and Human Services, analyzed the top 10 causes of deaths in the United States. The information was pulled from all death certificates filed in the 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2017.  Let’s take a closer look at each of the top 10.

10.  Suicide- 41,173 deaths

Suicide rates, at 14 deaths per 100,000 individuals, is at their highest rate since World War II.  Although it is difficult to pinpoint a specific cause for the increase, the opioid crisis, social media use and high stress may be contributing factors.  White males accounted for 69.7% of suicide deaths in 2017, with middle-age white men having the highest rates. Firearms were used in 50.57% of all suicide deaths.

9.  Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)-  83,564

According to the National Kidney Foundation, CKD is “the under-recognized public health crisis”.  CKD, with a rate of 15.5 deaths per 100,000 individuals, affects approximately 37 million in the US.  It is estimated that 90% of people with CKD are unaware they have it. The disease is more common in women than men.  In 2016, over 500.000 people underwent dialysis treatments and over 200,000 lived with a kidney transplant.

8.  Influenza and Pneumonia- 55, 672

Influenza, with a rate of 17.1 deaths per 100,000 individuals, is highly contagious and spreads quickly from person to person.  Pneumonia causes inflammation in the lungs and can lead to serious complications in persons with the flu. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic disease are at a higher risk of death from influenza and pneumonia.

7.   Diabetes- 83,564

Diabetes, with a rate of 25.7 deaths per 100,000 individuals, is the leading cause of end stage renal disease, amputations and adult blindness.  According to the American Diabetes Association, deaths caused by diabetes may be under-reported. Studies have found that only around 35% to 40% of people with diabetes who died had diabetes listed anywhere on their death certificate.  In addition, only 10% to 15% had it listed as the underlying cause.  

6.   Alzheimer’s Disease- 121,404

Alzheimer’s Disease, with a rate of 37.3 deaths per 100,00 individuals, is the only top 10 cause of death that medical experts cannot cure, prevent or slow down.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is estimated that 5.8 million people in the U.S. currently have the disease and the figure may rise to 14 million by the year 2050.

5.  Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease- 146,383

Strokes and cerebrovascular disease account for 5.2 percent of U.S. total deaths. Although 5.2% may seem like a relatively low number, it is actually 1 out of every 20 deaths, with someone dying from a stroke every 4 minutes.  Strokes are also the leading cause of serious long-term disabilities. The risk of stroke is twice as high for blacks compared to whites, with blacks having the highest death rate. The highest U.S. death rates for stroke occurs in southeast.

4.  Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease- 160,201

Chronic lower respiratory disease includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, occupational lung disease and pulmonary hypertension.  The death rate for chronic lower respiratory disease is 49.2 per 100,000 individuals and the disease causes serious long-term disability. More women die from COPD than men and there are a few possible reasons for this.

  • The tobacco industry intensely targeted women in advertising in the late 1960s.  This resulted in a huge increase in women smokers.
  • Women are often misdiagnosed because COPD has been labeled a man’s disease.
  • Smaller lungs in women and estrogen may play a role in worsening lung disease

3.  Accidents or Unintentional Injury- 169,936

Unintentional injury accounts for 52.2 deaths per 100,000 individuals and is the number one cause of death in infants to middle age.  The top 3 causes of accidental deaths include poisoning (19.9 per 100,000), motor vehicle accidents (12.4 per 100,000) and falls (11.2 per 100,000).  Suffocation is the leading cause of accidental deaths in infants.

2.  Cancer- 599,108

Malignant neoplasms account for a death rate of 189.3 per 100,000 individuals.  To help put this number into perspective, 4,830 new cases of cancer are diagnosed every day and approximately 1,660 people die each day from cancer.  The top 5 cancer causing deaths in order are:

  •  Lung 
  • Colorectal
  • Pancreas
  • Breast
  • Liver and bile ducts

The lifetime probability rate for developing cancer is 1 in 3 for both males and females.

1.  Heart Disease- 647,457

Heart disease, accounting for a rate of 198.8 deaths per 100,000 individuals, is the leading cause of death for both men and women.  In the U.S., approximately 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease yearly and every minute, more than one person dies. According to the CDC, heart disease costs the U.S. about $200 billion per year and the costs include medications, health care and lost productivity

You can read the full June 2019 National Vital Statistics Report here.

What fact(s) or statistic(s) about the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. surprised you?

 

Additional Information:

Heart Disease Fact Sheet CDC

Fast Facts: Accidents and Unintentional Injuries

American Cancer Society

Hello! I have been a nurse for over 20 years. I have had a full spectrum of career opportunities, from bedside nursing, to management, to nurse faculty and now back to bedside nursing. I like to write about what I encounter and what questions I have during my own nursing practice.

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To my knowledge there is no requirement to state on a patient's death certificate that their death was due to a medical error if this is the case.

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Snatchedwig has 11 years experience as a ADN, CNA, LPN, RN and specializes in Medsurg.

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I'm surprised murder wasn't on the list. 

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Snatchedwig has 11 years experience as a ADN, CNA, LPN, RN and specializes in Medsurg.

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15 hours ago, Susie2310 said:

To my knowledge there is no requirement to state on a patient's death certificate that their death was due to a medical error if this is the case.

🤣

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MSO4foru has 10 years experience as a ADN and specializes in Hospice Home Care and Inpatient.

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So maybe I am just in bad mood... but where are national and Government priortizarions when it comes to mental health? Cancer is becoming a chronic illness.... heart disease and stroke- show me some national incentive to disease burden reduction.  Same for diabetes.  

Again I am in bad mood- we nurses are not causing this. Until heathcare for every person in This County becomes a priority ( along with climate change) our current system does not incentivise prevention and education. Nor sadly, prognostication.  We could do a lot more for a healthy environment and education- what about public health channel that explained basic phyisiology- " Why yes- you can have bowel movement while having urinary catheter" - freaking momentous!

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MSO4foru has 10 years experience as a ADN and specializes in Hospice Home Care and Inpatient.

40 Posts; 183 Profile Views

What progress have we, as a World made on CA and dementia - we don't share data is my current understanding. I know its dated but watch Pink Ribbons Inc. 

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13 hours ago, MSO4foru said:

So maybe I am just in bad mood... but where are national and Government priortizarions when it comes to mental health? Cancer is becoming a chronic illness.... heart disease and stroke- show me some national incentive to disease burden reduction.  Same for diabetes.  

Again I am in bad mood- we nurses are not causing this. Until heathcare for every person in This County becomes a priority ( along with climate change) our current system does not incentivise prevention and education. Nor sadly, prognostication.  We could do a lot more for a healthy environment and education- what about public health channel that explained basic phyisiology- " Why yes- you can have bowel movement while having urinary catheter" - freaking momentous!

Were we separated at birth, by chance? I think there's a good possibility!

Health care is the last resort when it comes to disease burden, and it so does not make sense because the best we can do is play whack a mole, which is ineffective. I've said it before - we need public service announcements as a minimum to at least expose people, the public, US, to knowledge of how certain c rap foods DIRECTLY leads to CAD, diabetes, and we know the rest of the song book.

I really like your idea of a public health channel. It would at least give people the chance to all get to a baseline knowledge. The best I've ever seen personally, is Dr Huerta, a Peruvian doctor in the US who has his own call in show. It was/is (?) excellent.

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On 8/11/2019 at 12:49 AM, MSO4foru said:

So maybe I am just in bad mood... but where are national and Government priortizarions when it comes to mental health? Cancer is becoming a chronic illness.... heart disease and stroke- show me some national incentive to disease burden reduction.  Same for diabetes.  

Again I am in bad mood- we nurses are not causing this. Until heathcare for every person in This County becomes a priority ( along with climate change) our current system does not incentivise prevention and education. Nor sadly, prognostication.  We could do a lot more for a healthy environment and education- what about public health channel that explained basic phyisiology- " Why yes- you can have bowel movement while having urinary catheter" - freaking momentous!

I believe it is improving.  The local hospitals have put in gyms and we have employee health nurses and coaches that help the employees in being more healthy. There are smoking cessation classes and other courses free to employees.   I imagine other types of organizations do the same.  I didn't see that 20 years ago.

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