Norbert: Ever think of how and when you’re going to die, Dave?
Dave: After a five mile swim, lying under a palm tree at age 120.
Norbert: Cross your fingers because according to the world’s top health organizations: fat chance. Their life expectancy chart ranked the U.S. 40th among all the countries of the world at 78 years old.
As you’d guess, geography is the biggest predictor of life expectancy. Japan and Switzerland top the list at 82 years, while the bottom two, Central African Republic and Lesotho, are at 46 years.
Education is a predictor too. Men with Bachelor’s degrees live more than nine years over those with a high school degree. For women, it’s over eight-and-a-half years longer.
So, that suggests when, but how will it happen? We have the “Top 10” leading causes of death in the U.S.
Number ten is suicide, which can be influenced by such factors as mental illness, genetics, drugs, and brain injuries.
Nine is kidney disorders, and eight is influenza and pneumonia.
Diabetes is seventh and alarmingly, one in five hundred children today are being diagnosed.
Number six is Alzheimer’s, and five is accidents that include car wrecks, accidental drug overdose, and falls.
Number four is stroke and number three are chronic lower respiratory diseases, many related to smoking.
The top two are - you guessed it - cancer and heart disease. Together they kill 600,000 Americans a year.
The good news is that the five-year survival rate of cancers has improved 15% in the past thirty years, and heart disease related deaths have fallen by 18% in the past ten years. Biomedical research is among the reasons why Americans are living longer and healthier lives.
So, maybe my palm tree fantasy isn’t such a stretch?
For more information…
Leading Causes of Death
The definitive source from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA. Data included are for the U.S. and are final 2010 data. There is also a listing of the most recent preliminary data.
The Top 10 Causes Of Death In The United States
This list is compiled from multiple sources. Includes statistics from 2007 to 2010.
Authoritative source of information about the advances in the biomedical research that drives the future of medicine and why it should be well supported.