CDC: Hundreds of Thousands of Deaths Each Year Are Preventable
About 895,000 U.S. residents die annually from the five leading causes of death, and around 20% to 40% of such deaths could be avoided through better preventive care, according to a CDC report released Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Kaplan, Los Angeles Times, 5/1).
According to the report, from 2008 to 2010, the five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
- Chronic lower respiratory disease;
- Heart disease;
- Stroke; and
- Unintentional injury and accidents (Cukan, United Press International, 5/1).
For the report, researchers first calculated the mortality rates for each of the five leading causes of death in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the Times, the report's analysis was restricted to individuals under age 80, as life expectancy in the U.S. is about 79. Next, researchers identified the three states with the lowest mortality rates in each category and averaged them, which were the figures they used as the ideal scenarios.
Then, researchers applied those ideal mortality rates to each state and D.C. and calculated how many individuals would have died of the five leading causes of death. Researchers said the difference between the ideal and actual mortality rates signified deaths that were preventable, according to the Times.
The report found that each year:
- 91,757 U.S. residents die unnecessarily of heart disease;
- 84,443 people die prematurely of cancer;
- 28,831 people die prematurely of chronic lower respiratory diseases;
- 16,973 people die of preventable strokes; and
- 36,836 people die as a result of unintentional injuries or accidents.
The researchers estimated that about 20% to 40% of such deaths could be avoided, especially if all U.S. residents had equal access to preventive care.
The report also noted that to prevent such deaths, U.S. residents can:
- Eat healthier;
- Exercise more;
- Lose weight;
- Quit smoking;
- Use sunscreen;
- Wear seat belts in cars and helmets when riding bicycles or motorcycles; and
- Work with their physicians to lower cholesterol, control their blood pressure and manage Type 2 diabetes (Los Angeles Times, 5/1).