Friday, November 5, 2010

healthiness and dying

I stumbled across two interesting articles this morning. First of all the CDC just released a list of the most common causes of death in the United States

15. Homicide
14. Parkinsons
13. Hypertension
12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
11. Suicide
10. Septicemia (infection in the blood)
9. Kidney disease
8. Flu
7. Diabetes
6. Alzheimer's
5. Accidents - mostly motor vehicle ones
4. Lower respiratory diseases such as emphysema and asthma
3. Stroke
2. Cancer
1. Heart disease

I will say that Cancer and Heart Disease apparently account for approximately half of all deaths just between the two of them. I was surprised to see somethings on this list - suicide causes more death than murder? Blood infections/septicemia still are a leading cause of death. I would have thought that with the antibiotics available these days.

What I read from this list is that while modern medicine has made huge advances, there still is a lot of room for improvement - both on the side of medicine but also on the side of living healthy. So while medical research turns out cure after cure, us patients need to do our part to live healthier. Cirrhosis is mostly caused by alcohol abuse. Many cases of diabetes are the result of obesity. Murder is a social problem - crime control is important. Suicide - is it the result of depression mostly? More mental health professionals please! That's just a start. (I am not going to talk about cancer on this one - I think I have talked about it enough in the past and the answer is still the frustrating reply of 'they don't know'.)

I did also wonder what are the leading causes of death in other countries to compare with. I mean they tell us the US has such a high rate of diabetes and cancer and other Western diseases that are far lower in other parts of the world.

I did find this one article on who lives better as they age - Americans or British? Apparently if you live in the US you are likely to live longer but in the UK but you are less likely to have a chronic disease - so more likely to be healthier. I don't know but I think Darwin fits in here. If you make it to old age, you are likely to be healthier or something.

This too much too early but if I mull it over for a while, I might have a more profound thought. Meanwhile I will ponder causes of death and hope to avoid #2 for a long while to come.

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