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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The top ten causes of death have changed since 1910

Here is your opportunity to compare the top ten causes of death from 1910 and 2010.

Top ten reasons why people died in 1900
  1. Heart disease
  2. Pneumonia
  3. Tuberculosis
  4. Diarrhea
  5. Stroke
  6. Kidney disease
  7. Accidents (unintentional)
  8. Cancer
  9. Premature birth
  10. Senility
Top ten reasons why people died in 2010:
  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  4. Stroke
  5. Accidents (unintentional injury)
  6. Atzheimer's Disease
  7. Diebetes
  8. Influenza and Pneumonia (infections)
  9. Kidney disease
  10. Suicide (intentional injury)
You can see that heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death, yet major strides were made in preventing death due to infections, malnutrition, and premature death over the past 100 years.

Certainly energy and funds should continue to be focused on the areas where success has been made.  However, I think we are in a neat situation where, for the first time in our history, energy and funds can be aimed specifically at specific diseases.  

If, on the other hand, we find that these diseases continue to remain as the leading causes of death in 2210, then we may find that these diseases are genetic, and there is no cure.  Yet that remains to be seen. 

The most stunning trend I observe by these statistics is the rise in suicides or intentional deaths.  Perhaps this is a sign that depression is an under diagnosed and under treated disease.  As we learn more about the brain, physicians 100 years from now will be better equipped to recognize and treat this, thus lowering the suicide rate.  

It's highly probable that scientists will learn more about the human body, and how to recognize, prevent and treat these diseases.  But, people are still going to die of something.  Some might wonder if this top ten list might not change very much over the next 100 years. One can only wonder how this list will look in the years to come. 

  1. "Leading causes of death: 1900-1998," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),, accessed 2/6/14
  2. "Deaths: Final data for 2010," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), May, 8, 2013,, accessed 2/6/14

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