December 9th, 2010

CDC Demotes Stroke to Fourth Leading Cause of Death

Chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD) has replaced stroke as the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to preliminary 2008 statistics published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. In 2008, there were 133,750 deaths from stroke compared to 141,075 deaths from CLRD. Although the stroke rate has been declining for many years, the dramatic increase in the rate of CLRD (a 7.8% increase from 2007 to 2008) was due in large part to a revision of the cause-of-death coding practices that added many cases of pneumonia to the CLRD category. The CDC said the final 2008 mortality report will include a detailed analysis of this issue.

Here are the top 15 causes of death in the new list:

  • Diseases of heart
  • Malignant neoplasms
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  • Cerebrovascular diseases
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Influenza and pneumonia
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis
  • Septicemia
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide)
  • Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
  • Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Assault (homicide)

2 Responses to “CDC Demotes Stroke to Fourth Leading Cause of Death”

  1. 9 of the 15 are substantially preventable, ie, degenerative diseases, or “diseases of civilization.” In terms of volume, they predominate in death, human suffering, and loss.

    As far as cardiovascular disease is concerned, the leading cause of death, less than 3% of the health budget addresses prevention. Although the incubation period of asymptomatic coronary heart disease extends through decades, the “approved” prevention schedule provides for fewer monitoring services than for cancer or HIV.

    Prevention, as Dr G Berenson has said, is a “hard sell.”

    Competing interests pertaining specifically to this post, comment, or both:
    None at all

  2. Brian Scanlan, MD says:

    Relief from poverty is also a “hard sell.” Does the order shift with the socioeconomic or ethnic status of the subject?

    Competing interests pertaining specifically to this post, comment, or both: