Here we’re going to talk about the 7 leading health issues that cause death apparently. Some of these might surprise you, but unless you want to end up looking for coffins for sale, you need to take these conditions seriously so you can prevent them.
1. Heart disease
Heart disease, which includes disorders such as coronary heart disease and hypertension (high blood pressure), is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This group of cardiovascular diseases is caused by blocked blood flow in your arteries or other issues that affect your heart’s ability to pump. Heart disease may be prevented by eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, quitting smoking, and drinking alcohol only in moderation.
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by out-of-control cell growth. There are more than 100 types of cancer, including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Symptoms vary depending on the type. Cancer treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery.
Cancer affects people of all ages but tends to occur more frequently in older adults. The risk for most cancers increases with age. Smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke also increase the risk for some types of cancer. Being overweight or obese may increase the risk for some types of cancer, including endometrial (cancer of the lining of the uterus), postmenopausal breast cancer, kidney cancer, and colon and rectal cancers (colorectal cancers).
A stroke is when the blood supply to a part of your brain gets cut off. This stops oxygen from getting to your brain which then leads to damage or death of the cells in your brain. The symptoms of stroke depend on what part of the brain has been damaged and how badly. They can include:
- weakness or numbness down one side of the body
- slurred speech
- confusion, loss of balance or coordination, memory loss, dizziness, and fits (seizures)
The treatment for stroke depends on what type it is. If a clot blocks an artery in the brain, you may be given a drug called alteplase which helps dissolve clots and improve blood flow through an artery. You may also be given anticoagulants (“blood thinners”) to help prevent more clots from forming in your bloodstream or aspirin (which also acts as an antiplatelet drug) to help prevent further clots from happening. In some cases, you may need surgery where doctors operate on your arteries to remove blockages. If we are treated quickly after a hemorrhagic stroke and survive, we usually make a full recovery, but those with severe strokes may have permanent neurological problems like paralysis, speech difficulties, and memory loss that require long-term care. You can reduce your risk of having a stroke by keeping healthy, e.g., not smoking, having regular exercise, etc.
4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
In addition to the underlying cause, chronic lower respiratory diseases include conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Chronic lower respiratory disease symptoms can include:
- coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (phlegm)
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
Anyone who smokes is at risk for chronic respiratory disease. Other risk factors include air pollution and exposure to chemicals in the workplace. If you have a family history of lung diseases or if you’ve been exposed to asbestos, you’re also at risk for developing a chronic lower respiratory disease.
5. Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that gradually causes brain cells to die. As the brain shrinks, people with the disease can experience memory loss, mood swings, and difficulty performing tasks they once found easy. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but researchers are studying ways to possibly prevent it. There are medications that can help slow down symptoms for some people.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
- In Type 1 Diabetes, the body stops producing insulin.
- In type 2 Diabetes, your body still makes some insulin but not enough. It also loses its ability to use it efficiently over time. This is called insulin resistance.
In both types of diabetes, you need to take extra care in order to stay healthy and avoid complications.
7. Influenza and pneumonia
Influenza (flu) can be serious and even lead to death, especially in older adults and people with other health problems. Even though pneumonia is caused by a virus or bacteria, getting the flu increases your risk for pneumonia.
Pneumococcal disease is an illness caused by Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria, also called pneumococcus. Pneumococcal disease can cause diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, and blood infections. A vaccine that protects against pneumococcus can help prevent pneumococcal disease.
Vaccines are important tools to protect against many infectious diseases in all age groups. CDC recommends vaccines based on scientific evidence to protect the health of all Americans.
These are some of the leading health issues that cause death. However, there are many ways to prevent these diseases by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting vaccinated.