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Cancer, Cardiovascular and Respiratory Diseases: The Leading Causes of Death in the US

Updated on August 19, 2015

Cardiovascular Diseases

Over 2.000.000 people die a year in the United States and most of them due to non-natural causes. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) places on its top three leading causes of death in the US: Heart disease, cancer and chronic breathing diseases.

First and foremost cardiovascular diseases are ailments that affect the circulation of blood flow and whatever blood carries to the different regions of your body. Without the myocardium pumping blood to every corner of your being you may face problems, which include anemia, hypoxic states and cell death.

In your blood you can find an array of chemicals, minerals and nutrients but specially oxygen. Without oxygen the rest of your body’s cells will not be able to meet their biological necessities leading them to cell death.

Reasons why the proper pumping of the blood may happen include: the clotting and calcification of the arteries and blood vessels sometimes referred to as arteriosclerosis, the inflammation of the muscles of the heart. The heart is divided into sections which are; the pericardium, the myocardium, and the endocardium. All of these areas may become inflamed separately or all together.

Other causes for poor blood circulation may be hypertension, high levels of cholesterol. Most of these forms of heart disease can be the product of the health habits of the person afflicted so they can be reduced or eradicated by simply changing the lifestyle of the person in the least invasive and harmless way possible.

Most if not all cardiovascular diseases can be attributed to unhealthy habits such as smoking and eating foods that could increase your cholesterol to harmful degrees. This is not a call to become vegan or a bishop at a catholic church. This is a call to be careful about the amount of fatty foods you eat and the proteins you intake. Be careful of what chemicals you put through your lungs as well since the supply of oxygen is related to the state of your cardiovascular system.

Controlling your diet and reducing the level of smoke and chemicals you come into contact to will actually help you avoid most of the causes of death on this list.

Different Types of Cancer

The second cause of death on the list is the one you’d expect to be at the top of the list. The fault in our stars would have been a completely different story had John Green made it a tragedy about heart failure instead of cancer. Cancer, despite its more prominent coverage on the media next to AIDs in Africa is indeed the second leading cause of death in the United States.

We all know the story, a cell goes bad at molecular level in the strands of DNA and it mutates. The reasons for its mutation can vary and go from exposure to chemicals and radiation, smoking, standing out far too long under the sun, standing or looking at the microwave, drinking… basically exposure to chemicals and radiation. The cell then reproduces its deviant self in deprecating amounts to your body.

That way a cell that belongs to your liver may go a-wall and start growing in your lungs provoking what we all know and despise as cancer. Chemotherapy has been a treatment for cancer for a while now, however, the effects of it on the rest of your body are quite devastating. For the most part chemotherapy is preventive. It keeps the cancer from spreading once it reaches a stage were it is terminal the effects of the treatment may be null.

The most common forms of Cancer are the following:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Ovarian cancer

Cancer like most of the diseases that take hundreds upon thousands of lives on this list, is the direct result of compiled bad choices we make in our lives and sometimes even the result of mistakes other people around make. Sometimes it is congenital but for the most part these diseases are the result of a group of choices. Most experts attribute the fact that people don’t consume enough foods with antioxidants in them.

Antioxidants are the chemical agents that keep free radicals from turning a healthy cell into a mutant. Free radicals are another set of chemical agents that are formed from the violent decomposition of a molecule or atom creating a negatively charged atom or molecule. These chemicals are responsible not only for cancer but even aging and certain diseases.

The role of antioxidants as I may have foreshadowed earlier is to neutralize the effect of free radicals upon DNA and cells. You can get a lot of antioxidants from most berries including, strawberries, blueberries and cranberries. You can also get antioxidants in great concentrations from plums and cooked artichokes. If you want to know more about how to include more foods that are rich with these wonderful helpers consult your doctor or dietician.

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American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook: 200 Low-Fuss, Good-for-You Recipes

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Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases

Finally on the list of the top three leading causes of death in the United States we have chronic lower respiratory diseases. These include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. When MDs refer to chronic “lower” respiratory diseases they speak of diseases that generally affect the breathing organs and organelles that are found in your chest cavity.

Emphysema is the damage of the alveoli or air sacs that are found in your lungs to a point were these are not able to provide your body with its needed intake of oxygen. Chronic bronchitis on the other hand affects the whole neighborhood of the lungs inflaming the linings of your lungs. This condition also causes your lungs to secrete mucus that makes it difficult to breath. When the accumulation of mucus is past capacity the ailed person they may suffer respiratory arrest.

People that handle chemicals often on the job are extremely vulnerable to this form of respiratory diseases if a proper work environment and tools aren’t provided. Working with asbestos trees for long periods of time without the proper equipment may inevitably lead to this sort of diseases. If you’re a person that tends to work in house keeping and encounters a lot of chemicals make sure not only that you handle them with caution but also that you do regular checkups.

I’ve been hammering on the cigarette and smoking through the whole article and I will insist again it is one of the leading factors that can cause these diseases. While some recreational smoking every once in a while may be delightful the constancy of your habit may lead to your demise.

Respiratory Care: Principles and Practice
Respiratory Care: Principles and Practice

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Nobody likes a health fanatic but this is call out to reason to those of you who really want to lead a life worth living and a healthy one as well. If the leading causes of death in the US are illnesses that can be handled by every individual as they take care of their health why not take that risk? It would not only be a relief to the economy and the healthcare system but to your immediate family and friends.

Taking on a healthy lifestyle is a decision that is easy to make but extremely hard to keep, as it is easy to slip back into the comfort of fatty foods and the delight of the hit of a cigarette. You only live once, but use your brain and plan ahead so that you can enjoy your youth and your old age.

Article by: Alain Gutierrez

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    • Gibape profile imageAUTHOR

      Milady González 

      3 years ago

      Hi Charito,

      Love your nickname by the way, we use it too. :)

      Thank you for your comment.

      I'm really sorry to read about your husband, some of us learn things the hard way in life. As you say, I hope it serves as a lesson to many.

      To watch your diet and keep those levels of cholesterol low, make sure you go the natural way. It is always the best one. We have written a few hubs that will provide you with information about natural ways to keep you healthy. You can check out our hub "Cholesterol: Healthy Levels, Right Diet and How to Prevent It" I do think that seeing your doctor is a great idea as well.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      This is a great read, Milady.

      I recently saw a cardiologist who told me that I have a metabolic problem. Sadly, my bad cholesterol level is high, so I really have to watch my diet.

      My husband died of lung cancer in 2005. He battled with it for only 3 months. (I hope this serves as a lesson for all chain smokers out there.)


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