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The Top 10 Causes Of Death In The United States

Stashed in: Brain, Awesome, Death, Drugs!, Top 10, America!, Diabetes, Heart, Alzheimer's, Cancer

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In 2009, 2,436,652 Americans died.

Wait, that's it? That's less than 1 percent of America. Wow.

Here's the list:

10. Suicide - 37k deaths

9. Kidney Disease - 49k

8. Flu and Pneumonia - 54k

7. Diabetes - 69k

6. Alzheimer's Disease - 79k

5. Accidents - 117k

4. Brain Disease - 129k

3. Lung Disease - 137k

2. Cancer - 569k

1. Heart Disease - 599k

On diabetes:

In 2005, 20.8 million people reported having diabetes, 14.6 million of which were diagnosed in that year alone.

The disease is spreading to children as well. One in every 400 to 600 kids was diagnosed with diabetes in 2005. The same trend held steady in 2011

On brain disease:

Brain disease can take many forms, from tumors to strokes to Alzheimer's disease. Annually, 52,000 die from brain disorders and 275,000 are hospitalized.

On Alzheimer's:

The number of deaths caused by Alzheimer's jumped 66% between 2000 and 2008. By contrast deaths caused by HIV fell nearly 30% and deaths from stroke fell 20% in the same time period.

In 2011, the disease was ranked the 5th leading cause of death for Americans aged 65 and older.

On cancer:

Malignant tumors, the type that carry cancer, kill more than 500,000 people annually.

There are more than 200 types of cancer that can affect more than 60 organs.

These top ten death lists piss me off.  

Mostly because they're framed as if we've got the right medical mindset and system in place (i.e. it's a war on cancer, the best way to treat that is by Big Pharma.) while remaining glaringly silent or in categorical denial that our entire medical system is A BIG PART of our top ten death problem--the iatrogenic elephant in the room: 

Our US allopathic medical system and Big Pharma kill more US patients than seven of the top ten diseases on this list.  Iatrogenic effects are well ensconced as the 3rd leading DIRECT cause of death in the US...

"In the United States, figures suggest estimated deaths per year of: [1] [18] [19] [20]

  • 12,000 due to unnecessary surgery
  • 7,000 due to medication errors in hospitals
  • 20,000 due to other errors in hospitals
  • 80,000 due to nosocomial infections in hospitals
  • 106,000 due to non-error, negative effects of drugs

Based on these figures, iatrogenesis may cause 225,000 deaths per year in the United States (excluding recognizable error). An earlier Institute of Medicine report estimated 230,000 to 284,000 iatrogenic deaths annually.[1]

The large gap separating these estimates from annual deaths from cerebrovascular disease suggests that iatrogenic illness constitutes the third-leading cause of death in the United States; after heart disease and cancer.[1]"

[Above from ]

Our entire medical industry is already an highly-effective, serial killer.  And the above figures don't capture latency deaths that go under-reported.  

There are also the systemic negative externalities and indirect effects of financial ruin that attend patients and their families:

"In the United Statesmedical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy ...[leading to] a vicious cycle of illness, ineffective therapies, consumption of savings, indebtedness, sale of productive assets, and eventually poverty."

My position on US medical professionals and science is not totally cranky: 

Our medical professionals = great and caring people passionate to help (at least at the outset)

Our technologies and initial diagnostics = top rate and first in the world

Still, everyone dies of SOMETHING. Medicine or not.

106,000 due to non-error, negative effects of drugs.  Unbelievable.

Yeah, that's crazy. Drugs kill.

Very interesting discussion.....  it's interesting what stimulates discussion.

Tina, I'd wager it's safe to speculate that "death and taxes" are stimulative topics in any crowd...

LOL!  Yes, I'm find that out.

That drugs kill... sigh... very believable... too believable.

Big Pharma drugs killing us are not about intangible causes, ineffective standards, or barely perceptible differences between free choice and unexpected happenstance:  drugs kill at scale because companies have created a self-buffering system of profits and ongoing economic validation while burying any potential negative facts in order for those vested in the status quo to continue to profit.  In other words, oligopoly--the antithesis of free market commerce, individual agency and any chance for increasing collective well-being.  And this is different than any conspiracy, which I'm not suggesting.


Drug companies kill because they can.  

This is not so crazy as it sounds when you look at history and what the simple bald facts are today.  And when you do you recognize that what's crazy is that the consequences of rising peacetime deaths, already at high annual rates, are not only acceptable by a consumer culture perhaps overly eager to align moral and ethical validation with business profits and convenience as they are to simply ignore the facts when brought to light.


Drug companies kill because they're good at it.  

The biggest have been in the business of killing from their start.  They are big profiteers in the most lucrative of all occupations--war.  And they are among the most efficient, persistent peacetime killers that can far outstrip even our military's war time ability to lay opposing forces low.  Easy to find facts, right in public recorded history:


"In 1946 the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal concluded that without IG Farben the Second World War would simply not have been possible. The Chief Prosecutor, Telford Taylor, warned: "These companies, not the lunatic Nazi fanatics, are the main war criminals. If the guilt of these criminals is not brought to daylight and if they are not punished, they will pose a much greater threat to the future peace of the world than Hitler if he were still alive."


The template of Big Pharma worked and evolved Big Ag and that worked and now most recently infected the public eye further by extending into Big Finance.  Ah yes, we're "Too big to fail."  What a lovely, self-righteous mantra for the coming age of corporate nationalism.  Big Pharma in the US is now a juggernaut:

"Continuing a major trend, IMS finds that 78% of the nearly 4 billion U.S. prescriptions written in 2010 were for generic drugs (both unbranded and those still sold under a brand name). ... The drugs on which we spend the most money are those that are still new enough to be protected against generic competition. The IMS reports that Americans spent $307 billion on prescription drugs in 2010. The 10 drugs on which we spent the most were:

  • Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug -- $7.2 billion
  • Nexium, an antacid drug -- $6.3 billion
  • Plavix, a blood thinner -- $6.1 billion
  • Advair Diskus, an asthma inhaler -- $4.7 billion
  • Abilify, an antipsychotic drug -- $4.6 billion
  • Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug -- $4.4 billion
  • Singulair, an oral asthma drug -- $4.1 billion
  • Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug -- $3.8 billion
  • Actos, a diabetes drug -- $3.5 billion
  • Epogen, an injectable anemia drug -- $3.3 billion"

And this payoff doesn't include drug companies GMO food supply and pesticide business line outputs at a profit... that interestingly enough buffer and increase the consumption of... wait for it...more Big Pharma drugs.  

When you look at both sides of the world's balance sheet you can begin to square how corporate assets in Big Pharma/Ag/Finance impose ever greater liabilities on the consumer in multiple, colliding vectors and how these then add up to net-negative externalities, which now drive even greater consumption (and profits) towards each industry.  And will continue to do so at ever increasing rates in the coming decades... wait for it... in a variety of surprising ways:

"External Medicine: Discarded Drugs May Contaminate 40 Million Americans' Drinking Water

Although millions of people flush unused medications down the toilet and discharge them in bodily waste, sewage treatment plants and septic systems are not required to deal with such contaminants"

Geesh, I really am starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist!  But I'm not, I think it's a far simpler and more puerile answer than that: bad systemic and commercial incentives, short-term selfishness and obsessive self-righteous validation by financial scorecards--all these factors lead otherwise normally good folks down paths of outright criminal acts at the grandest scale possible.

Might as well expect Big Pharma to start sticking people in ovens and claim they're doing it because it's simply good for everyone else.  Again.  

How about starting up a real war on Big Pharma drugs and leave the recreational ones alone.  Humanity will always have to die of something... or not.

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