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The five most common causes of death in the U.S.

by | Apr 5, 2017 | For Families

grieving friends

Death is an inevitable fate everyone will have to face someday, but the way in which we die is what can vary drastically.

From illnesses to freak accidents, there are many typical and many strange ways to die. But when it comes to death in the United States, here are some statistics on the most common causes of death.

Top Two Causes of Death

By far, the top two causes of death are also the top two deadly diseases: cardiovascular disease and cancer. The number of deaths by heart disease is slightly higher than those from cancer according to the 2014 death statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1. Heart Disease

In 2014, based on the U.S. population, 23% (614,348) of American deaths were from heart disease. According to this article from Medhelp, in 2010 1 in 6 deaths was from heart disease, but the death rate from heart disease is decreasing, as it fell 28% between 1997 and 2007.

To try to prevent heart disease, you should exercise regularly, eat healthily, drink less alcohol, and if you smoke, try to quit. A healthy diet includes less sodium, controlling portion sizes, and eating more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and sources of protein such as fish or eggs.

2. Cancer

In 2014 based on the U.S. population, 22% (591,699) of deaths were from cancer. According to the Medhelp article, 1 in 7 deaths was from cancer in 2010, with lung cancer being the deadliest with 157,300 deaths followed by prostate and breast cancer as the second- and third-deadliest forms of cancer.

Other Top Causes of Death

Following the top two causes of death with significantly lower numbers are chronic lower respiratory disease, accidents, and strokes.

3. Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease

According to this Live Science article, in 2014 there were 147,101 people who died from this disease. The top causes of chronic lower respiratory disease include smoking, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma.

4. Accidents

In 2014, there were 136,053 unintentional deaths, which includes a broad range of accidental injuries resulting in death such as car accidents, unintentional drug overdoses, and accidental falls.

According to the 2014 death statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most likely accidental ways to die in the U.S. are unintentional poisoning (42,032), motor vehicle traffic deaths (33,736), and unintentional falls (31,959), which can range from falling off of furniture to falling off of a building.

5. Strokes

There were 133,053 people in 2014 who died from a stroke. According to this CBS news article, a stroke, or cerebrovascular disease, is different from heart disease because it involves blood vessels. The death rates from strokes have decreased over time, as it used to be number three on the list.

Check out these blog posts about 10 inventors who died from their own inventions and weird death coincidences part one and part two to read more about strange accidental deaths.


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