Frazer Blog

What’s killing Americans?

by | Jun 30, 2016 | For Families

An old man with his face in his hand

We see statistics all the time about how many people are dying of cancer and heart disease, but what else causes death in the U.S., and what other implications are there?

Let’s take a look at some of the leading causes of death in the U.S., and what it means for Americans.

#1: Heart Disease

It has been well-known for years that heart disease is what kills the most people in the U.S. In 2014, 614,348 people died of heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is a number of problems, many of which are related to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the heart. The most common type of heart disease in America is coronary artery disease, which can lead to heart attack.

Heart diseases cause more than $320 billion in annual healthcare costs for Americans.

#2: Cancer

Cancer comes in many forms, but as a whole the disease took the lives of 591,699 people in the U.S. in 2014. The deadliest type of cancer is lung cancer, followed by colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

In addition to being an emotionally devastating disease for those afflicted and their families, cancer treatment costs tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

#3: Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases

This one may surprise you, because it’s often not as talked about as some of the other causes of death on this list. The most common chronic lower respiratory disease is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, which includes bronchitis or emphysema.

In 2014, these diseases killed 147,101 Americans. Researchers estimate that, on average, each adult with COPD pays $6,000 more in medical care than an adult without COPD.

#4: Accidents

Car crashes, falls, drownings — accidents may be a broad category, but it doesn’t make it any less tragic for the families who lose their loved ones to them. In 2014, 136,053 died because of accidents in the U.S.

Because of the unexpected nature of accidents, many families suffer financially due to sudden medical and funeral expenses. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that about half of all collection accounts listed on credit reports are due to medical debt.

One thing many families have turned to when their loved ones die by accident is crowdfunding campaigns, which have grown in popularity in the funeral space.

#5: Stroke

According to the National Stroke Association, a stroke is essentially a brain attack that occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and die.

In 2014, 133,103 Americans died from stroke. Depending on the type of stroke, the insurance of the patient, and where they were treated, the cost of health care for stroke victims typically ranges anywhere from $19,000 to $64,000.

Other Causes of Death

In addition to these five causes of death for Americans, there also is Alzheimer’s disease, which killed 93,541 people in 2014; diabetes, which killed 76,488 in 2014; influenza and pneumonia, which killed a combined 55,227 people in 2014; nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis, which killed 48,146 in 2014; and suicide, which claimed the lives of 42,773 Americans in 2014.

All of these causes of death leave families and friends devastated, especially since many of them are unexpected deaths or deaths that have happened after medical battles that lasted weeks, months, or even years.

In addition to unimaginable grief, many of these families also are burdened with huge medical debt, especially if they are uninsured. With nowhere to turn, nearly 70,000 families at any given time are turning to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to help pay for medical and funeral expenses for their loved ones.

What are your thoughts on these U.S. leading causes of death statistics? Share them with us in the comments!


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