Heart disease tops the list of what’s most likely to kill you or someone you love, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data naming the five leading causes of death among Americans under age 80 for 2014. After heart disease, cancer was the most likely cause of death. Rounding out the list were stroke; chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema; and accidents, the report said.
Nearly two-thirds of deaths in the United States were caused by these five diseases or conditions.
And many of these deaths were preventable. Thirty percent of heart disease deaths, 15 percent of cancer deaths, 28 percent of stroke deaths, 36 percent of chronic lower respiratory disease deaths, and 43 percent of accident deaths were preventable, the CDC researchers said.
The good news in the report: between 2010 and 2014, there were declines in three of those five leading causes of preventable deaths.
Those declines included: a 25 percent drop in cancer deaths, which was helped by a 12 percent decrease in the age-adjusted death rate from lung cancer; an 11 percent decrease in stroke-related deaths; and a 4 percent decline in preventable heart disease deaths.
However, during the same time period, preventable deaths from unintentional injuries rose 23 percent (largely due to drug poisoning and falls), and preventable deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease rose 1 percent.
“Fewer Americans are dying young from preventable causes of death,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in an agency news release.
“Tragically, deaths from overdose are increasing because of the opioid epidemic, and there are still large differences between states in all preventable causes of death, indicating that many more lives can be saved through use of prevention and treatment available today,” Frieden said.
Preventable death data help state and federal health officials establish prevention goals, priorities and strategies, according to the CDC.
The agency suggested that health care providers can help prevent premature deaths by providing patients with counseling on quitting smoking, protecting against heart disease and stroke, and avoiding accidental injuries.