When the leading causes of death in the United States can be prevented, we should focus on preventive care. It’s only logical.
Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease, cancer and diabetes top the list.
Heart Disease Stats and Prevention Facts
According to the Heart Foundation:
- Heart disease (which includes Heart Disease, Stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases) is the number one cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 787,000 people alone in 2011.
- Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
- In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds.
- Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.
- Smoking cessation is an important preventive measure. Smokers are twice as likely to suffer heart attacks as non-smokers, and they are more likely to die as a result. Smoking is also linked to increased risk of stroke. The nicotine and carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke damages the cardiovascular system.
- Getting a patient’s diet under control can keep heart problems at bay. Diet is a leading cause of high cholesterol, and nearly 40 million Americans have high cholesterol levels. The higher the blood cholesterol level, the higher the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Losing weight makes the heart’s job easier. Excess weight causes extra strain on the heart; people who are overweight are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have none of the other risk factors. Yet, 66% of Americans over age 20 are obese.
Cancer Stats and Prevention Facts
According to Cancer.org:
- About 1,658,370 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2015.
- In 2015, about 589,430 Americans are expected to die of cancer, or about 1,620 people per day.
- Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease, and accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.
- The World Cancer Research Fund has estimated that up to one-third of the cancer cases that occur in economically developed countries like the US are related to overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could also be prevented.
- In 2015, almost 171,000 of the estimated 589,430 cancer deaths in the US will be caused by tobacco smoking. All cancers caused by tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption can be prevented completely.
- Many of the more than 3 million skin cancer cases that are diagnosed annually could be prevented by protecting skin from excessive sun exposure and avoiding indoor tanning.
- Certain cancers are related to infectious agents could be avoided by preventing infection, either through behavioral changes or vaccination, or by treating the infection.
- Screening can prevent colorectal and cervical cancers by allowing for the detection and removal of precancerous lesions. Screening is known to reduce mortality for cancers of the breast, colon, rectum and cervix. Yet, according to the CDC, only about 25% of adults aged 50–64 years are up-to-date on recommended immunizations and cancer screenings.
Diabetes Stats and Prevention Facts
According to Healthline:
- 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, 8.1 million of whom may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.
- In adults 20 and older, more than one in every 10 people suffers from diabetes, and in seniors (65 and older), that figure rises to more than one in four.
- Research examining fasting glucose (A1C) levels found that 35 percent of U.S. adults age 20 years or older had pre-diabetes (50 percent of those age 65 years or older are considered pre-diabetic); an estimated 79 million Americans age 20 years or older have pre-diabetes.
- Up to 85 percent of complications and morbidities among individuals with type 2 diabetes can be prevented, delayed, or effectively treated and minimized with regular visits to a health professional, appropriate monitoring and medication, and a healthy diet and lifestyle.
- Overweight individuals who lose even five to seven percent of their body weight through exercising and healthy eating may effectively prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes indefinitely.
These 20 stats and prevention facts bring to light the fact that there are simply too many preventable deaths in our country.
As an industry, healthcare providers need to stop diagnosing and treating illnesses one episode at a time. Instead they need to take a more holistic approach to patient care with a focus on prevention. They must put a bigger emphasis on helping patients with chronic conditions better manage them, so that they’re less likely to become ill enough to wind up in the hospital – again, and again, and again. At the same time, they need to increase their focus on keeping at-risk patients from developing chronic conditions.
Download our free ebook, “Chronic Disease Management: It’s Time to Focus on Preventative Care” to read more about how to better manage chronically ill patients.