HealthDay News — According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, heart disease continues to top the list of likely cause of death among Americans.

The CDC released data naming the 5 leading causes of death among Americans under age 80 for 2014. 

After heart disease, cancer was the most likely cause of death. 

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Rounding out the list were stroke; chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema; and accidents. 

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of deaths in the United States were caused by these 5 diseases or conditions. 

About 30% of heart disease deaths, 15% of cancer deaths, 28% of stroke deaths, 36% of chronic lower respiratory disease deaths and 43% of accident deaths were preventable, the CDC researchers said.

Between 2010 and 2014, there were declines in 3 of the 5 leading causes of preventable deaths. Those declines included: a 25% drop in cancer deaths, which was helped by a 12% decrease in the age-adjusted death rate from lung cancer; an 11% decrease in stroke-related deaths; and a 4% decline in preventable heart disease deaths.

However, during the same time period, preventable deaths from unintentional injuries rose 23% — largely due to drug poisoning and falls — and preventable deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease rose 1%.

“Fewer Americans are dying young from preventable causes of death,” Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, said in an agency news release. “Tragically, deaths from overdose are increasing because of the opioid epidemic and there are still large differences between states in all preventable causes of death, indicating that many more lives can be saved through use of prevention and treatment available today.”


García MC, Bastian B, Rossen LM, et al. “Potentially Preventable Deaths Among the Five Leading Causes of Death — United States, 2010 and 2014.” MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016. 65: 1245–1255. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6545a1.

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