Chronic conditions affect millions of Americans every year. Many of these conditions aren’t curable. The leading causes of death in the United States might surprise you. Most of these incidents and conditions though, including the No. 1 leading cause of annual American deaths, are largely preventable.
Of the leading causes of death in the U.S., death by homicide isn’t as prevalent as it often seems. Homicide or assault deaths affect 5 per 100,000 people in the United States, killing nearly 16,000 people every year. About 11,000 of those deaths relate specifically to firearm-related homicides.
Next: Your risk for developing this disease increases as you age.
14. Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that commonly affects older adults. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 50,000 people receive new Parkinson’s diagnoses every year. Experts estimate that half a million people in America currently live with the disease.
Next: This condition can contribute to even more serious health problems with higher mortality rates.
13. Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Experts estimate that 1 in 3 adults currently lives with hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure. You’re at a higher risk of developing this condition if you are overweight, you don’t work out, and you follow a high-sodium diet. High blood pressure also puts you at risk for two leading causes of death that appear much higher up on this list.
Next: More than 30 million people live with this devastating health condition.
12. Liver disease
Many factors impact your risk for suffering liver damage and disease — and not all of them have to do with alcohol. Liver disease and cirrhosis cause approximately 38,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. According to the American Liver Foundation, 30 million Americans currently live with some kind of liver-related disease.
Next: Hospital stays increase your risk of a deadly infection.
About 43,000 people die as a result of self-inflicted injuries every year. The most common fatal injuries related to suicide include firearms, poisonings, and suffocation. Unfortunately, experts have a hard time collecting data regarding why these deaths occur. However, depression, substance abuse, and stressful life events remain among the most common risk factors.
Next: This disease affects 14% of Americans annually.
10. Kidney disease
Your body depends on healthy, functional kidneys to remove harmful toxins from your body. When these organs can’t do their job, victims’ health suffers. According to the NIDDK, 14 percent of the U.S. population lives with chronic kidney disease. Severe kidney problems caused more than 47,000 deaths in 2013, killing more people than breast and prostate cancer.
Next: These lung infections may be more deadly than you realized.
9. Influenza and pneumonia
Lung conditions, including lung-related diseases, account for thousands of annual deaths in the United States. According to the American Lung Association, 53,282 people died from pneumonia in 2013, while 3,550 people died from influenza.
Next: Annual deaths from this condition may be underreported.
The American Diabetes Association says diabetes contributed to about 79,500 deaths in 2015. More than 30 million Americans lived with this condition that year, whether they had an official diagnosis or not. The United States as a whole spends over $200 billion in diabetes-related costs every year, including medical costs and productivity loss.
Next: This disease can neither be prevented nor cured.
7. Alzheimer’s disease
Just one form of dementia, Alzheimer’s impacts the lives of people across the U.S. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 93,000 people died from Alzheimer’s every year. About 1 in 10 adults over 65 lives with the condition. Among the 10 leading causes of death, Alzheimer’s is the only one that has no known treatment or method of prevention.
Next: Homicide and suicide aren’t the only injury-related deaths that affect Americans.
6. Unintentional injuries
Unintentional injuries cause approximately 136,000 deaths in the United States every year. Often referred to accidental deaths, these incidents include injuries from falls, motor vehicle accidents, and accidental poisonings.
Next: If you have a history of asthma, you’re at risk of dying from this type of disease.
Someone in the United States has a stoke every 40 seconds. The CDC estimates about 795,000 people suffer a stoke every year. Strokes kill about 140,000 people annually, responsible for 1 in every 20 American deaths. Your stroke risk increases as you get older. You’re also more likely to have a stroke if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or are overweight.
Next: The mortality rate for this disease has fallen in the past 20 years.
4. Chronic lower respiratory disease
Just under 150,000 adults die from chronic lower respiratory disease each year, says the CDC. This includes deaths from asthma. COPD, pulmonary hypertension, and occupational lung diseases are among the most commonly diagnosed respiratory conditions in the U.S. People over 65 years of age and women are more likely to develop any of these diseases.
Next: High blood pressure increases your risk of this deadly disease.
Hospitalization significantly increases your risk of developing septicemia — blood poisoning that results from a number of possible bacterial infections. Sepsis and septic shock account for 1 in every 3 hospital deaths every year. The CDC estimates that around 250,000 people die from this kind of infection annually.
Next: Over 40,000 people die every year due to this preventable event.
If you haven’t lost a friend or family member to cancer, you’ve likely at least known someone who has gone through treatment. Approximately 600,000 people die from some type of cancer every year — but there’s good news. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer mortality rates have fallen significantly since the early 1990s.
Next: This condition is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the U.S.
1. Heart disease
The most deadly disease in America, heart disease is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S. The CDC estimates about 610,000 people die from this condition every year. Your age, race, ethnicity, family history, and daily lifestyle behaviors all contribute to your heart disease risk. Unfortunately, it’s the leading cause of death among both men and women.
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