What kills

I thought it was interesting to see what would kill me if I lived an average North American life. Google is my friend in that case so I googled top 10 causes of death in the U.S. My guess is Canada is looking somewhat similar.

Also interesting to note that there are roughly 2.6 million deaths in the U.S. annually. Although an unfortunate number, it’s a great boon for the morgue industry.

Here is what it looks like:

  1. Heart disease: 633,842 ~ 24%
  2. Cancer: 595,930 ~ 22%
  3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041 ~ 6%
  4. Accidents: 146,571 ~ 5%
  5. Stroke: 140,323 ~ 5%
  6. Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561 ~ 4%
  7. Diabetes: 79,535 ~ 3%
  8. Influenza and pneumonia: 57,062 ~ 2%
  9. Kidney disease: 49,959 ~ 2%
  10. Suicide: 44,193 ~ 1.7%

The first thing to point out is of course how much more prevalent heart disease and cancer are. In my mind, since stroke is accumulation of plaque but in a different area, I lump it together with heart disease.

Next, there’s diabetes and Alzheimer’s which I’m convinced are rooted in hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. On top of that, a lot of diabetics will die from heart disease complications so I imagine it is already reflected in (1).

I don’t know what to make of respiratory diseases and influenza. I never heard of anyone having it personally and was surprised to find these so high up. I also don’t know much about kidney disease.

Finally there’s accidents and suicide. Now accidents are unavoidable by definition but it’s not really something I’m afraid of. Suicide is a more sensitive topic but suffice to say that it is 100% avoidable if you manage to not go through with it.

And so it seems to me that if you can avoid modern age diseases (CVD, cancer, dementia, diabetes), avoid accidents and avoid committing suicide, you can live to be a nice, healthy old woman or man in 65% of the cases.