Top 5 leading causes of death


Preventable deaths with in the top 5 causes of death vary across states, and CDC notes an opportunity to improve

The United States has opportunity to prevent a significant number of deaths within the top five leading causes of death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that when considered separately, 91,757 deaths from diseases of the heart, 84,443 from cancer, 28,831 from chronic lower respiratory diseases, 16,973 from cerebrovascular diseases (stroke), and 36,836 from unintentional injuries potentially could be prevented each year.

Examining the data, particularly for deaths that occur earlier than expected, allows health officials to establish disease prevention goals, priorities and strategies, according to CDC. Officials should consider risk factor reduction, screening and other prevention efforts, as well as benchmarking among states to apply best practices.


Top 5 causes of death

United States 2008 – 2010

Cause                                                        Number of deaths observed

  • Cancer                                                                   400,949

  • Diseases of the heart                                             272,688

  • Unintentional injuries                                               94,862

  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases                         74,458

  • Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)                         52,360


Source: CDC, May 2014

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