Top 10 Causes of Death...and what you can do.
Every year the CDC releases its statistics for the top 10 causes of death in the United States. While the subject may seem macabre, there are some key things that we can take away, including a better understanding of what we can do about that 3rd leading cause of death in the United States in 2016 - chronic lower respiratory diseases, including COPD.
According to the CDC's FastStats site, the top 10 causes of death in the United States are as follows.
- Heart disease: 614,348
- Cancer: 591,699
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 147,101
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 136,053
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 133,103
- Alzheimer's disease: 93,541
- Diabetes: 76,488
- Influenza and pneumonia: 55,227
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,146
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 42,773
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease?
If it sounds ominous, that's because it is. These diseases are a general category for any chronic illness that affects the lungs. That can include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is a condition where the little sacs in your lungs which allow your blood vessels to soak up the oxygen that they need are damaged or collapsed, which leads to poor breathing. Chronic bronchitis is a condition where the lung tissue is red and inflamed, often accompanied with mucus which can block up the lungs.
Each, while bad enough on their own, can often be combined together in a condition called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. COPD is often associated with lung cancer and smoking, but can also be brought on by exposure to chemical fumes, pollutants and dust.
Avoiding COPD or living with it
To avoid COPD, we recommend that people:
- Do not smoke, in any form, and also, avoid second-hand smoke (more on this in a moment).
- Avoid other pollutants or irritants that can lead to the inflamed lungs, including dust and chemicals.
It's hard to avoid all of these all the time, but if you are in an environment where you might be exposed to smoke, consider one of our expert recommended air purifiers for smoke. In the case of COPD, which is not reversible, an ounce of prevention may be worth more than it's weight in cure.
If you, or someone else that you know has COPD, with it's shortness of breath, on-going cough and chest tightness, you can provide some help by making sure there are as few irritants in the air as possible.
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