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Top 15 Causes of Death

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Top 15 Causes of Death

It’s sobering to see what’s going on across the board with our health. Many might assume that heart disease and cancer hover at the top of what’s killing us in this country, and they’d be correct, but some of the other causes that make the top fifteen are somewhat surprising. The data used for this list was complied from records of deaths, which were received from state vital statistics offices and processed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

What’s so surprising is what a role tobacco plays in this list. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use is a major cause of many of the world’s top killer diseases – including cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer. In total, tobacco use is responsible for the death of almost one in 10 adults worldwide. Smoking is often the hidden cause of the disease recorded as responsible for death.

This list represents deaths of all ages. When looking at lists broken down by age, the causes differ: in general, youth is more vulnerable to violent death (accidents and homicide); middle age is more vulnerable to disease conditions affecting high risk individuals (cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.); and old age is more vulnerable to diseases related to general debility (infection, dementia, chronic disease and accidental falls).

The final results for 2007 were just published, the causes here are the preliminary numbers for deaths in the United States for 2009. The preliminary number of deaths for the year was 2,436,68–here is how the numbers are represented:

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Read more: Aging, Alzheimer's, Arthritis, Cholesterol, Cold and Flu, COPD, Diabetes, Eating for Health, General Health, Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, High Blood Pressure

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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3:21AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Thank you :)

3:33PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013


2:18PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

Thank you.

8:05PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

sobering article

10:45AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011



8:04AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

interesting, and we need to remember the intrinsic causes of a lot of these issues. I, for one, know 7 young men who committed suicide over the past 3 years and each of them was a drug addict. Interesting that suicide is a #10 cause but addiction isnt on the list. do we need to categorize things better to really see what is going on? I think so.

5:25PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

not fun to read

9:11PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

it was suppose to say let me see smoke or ?

9:10PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Let me smoke I know it is not good, but then look at what the goverment does to us, along with big phrama, man is killing himself off with all the garbage the Corp. america is giving us.

6:44AM PDT on Sep 2, 2011


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