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Death map: The most common causes of death in each state

Stashed in: Awesome, Death, Medicine, America!, Maps!, Diabetes, Heart, Alzheimer's, Cancer, Interesting Facts, Sugar, Data is beautiful.

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There are a lot of "accidents".

There is a "Respiratory Diseases" corridor in Tornado Alley.


How does Alzheimer's cause death? People forget the wrong thing?

Like, "Am I flammable?"

AD is a terminal illness, with the cause of death typically being an external factor, such as infection of pressure ulcers or pneumonia, not the disease itself.  (Wiki).  People in the final stages of Alzheimers typically are bedridden.

Fascinating and sad. Even if science finds a cure for Alzheimer's, people will still die of pneumonia.

I looked up septicemia too, and it sounds like "being in the hospital" disease. Hospitals are giant petri dishes for drug-resistant bacteria, and that's no lie. MRSA comes from hospitals and gets inside people's bodies when they have surgery or any other cuts of the skin. Catheters, IVs, and breathing tubes get infected. Bed sores turn into raging infections. All of this is even more true when you have a lot of young, elderly, wounded, and immuno-compromised patients in one place... as hospitals tend to do. The irony is that hospitals are the worse place for very sick people to be.

Makes me wonder if there's a better system than hospitals waiting to be invented. 

You would think there would be more deaths from liver disease than from kidney disease.  I guess our livers are relatively sturdy.

I guess so. Also, where's the cancer? Not a top killer?

And I had not heard of Septicemia until now.

Ah, ok, I went back and read the article. Heart disease and cancer are the top 2 killers by far:

Death map: The most common causes of death in each state of the union

Death map: The most common causes of death in each state of the union

The map atop this page is DISPROPORTIONATE deaths. 

okay, now these two make a lot more sense (i was utterly confused by the first one!).  but what exactly is heart disease?  does it cover heart attacks?  what i mean is: if you die because you're old and your heart stops is that considered heart disease?

does anyone just die from being old anymore?

Hardly anyone dies of being old anymore. 

If you get old enough you will eventually will get a disease.

Heart disease does cover heart attacks but not your ticker just stopping.


From a medical perspective 'old age' or natural causes is not listed as a cause of death any longer. Instead the medical causes are actually listed. Eventually your body will shut down and organs fail and you will die of some illness.

Read more:

so it sounds like what we used to call "dying of old age" was just a misnomer.

shucks!  it sounded so easy.

Yes, unfortunately there is no easy way to go.

Perhaps that makes us appreciate life more.

Kidney disease = diabetes. Liver disease = cirrhosis, hepatitis, poison (including Tylenol poisoning). The thing about putting poison -- including toxic levels of alcohol -- into your body is that it has a lot of mechanisms to stop you from being that type of idiot. My instructor in DUI school told us that at the end of his many years of alcoholism his body wouldn't keep the liquor down at all any more. But eating sugars... your body doesn't have too many defenses against that, even if it is killing and maiming you.

On a recent episode of Elementary, Sherlock points out that recovering addicts often turn to sugar.

Since sugar is a very slow killer, you're right that most people don't even realize its toxicity.

And thank you for the translations of kidney disease and liver disease. 

Actually the top killer is neither heart disease nor cancer, it is iatrogenic harm from overdosing on pharmaceuticals.  

There are even signs in doctor's offices about this...normalized-tmp-53907228783db

Though some conservative states (like Texas) might use these facts to throw the palliative baby out with the narcotic bathwater, the fact remains that many more drugs than the typical narcotics are adding to the majority US of deaths.  

The temporary relief of symptoms that allopathic medicine promises to treat can also become permanent relief through any variety of pharmaceutical flavors... if you take enough of them.

Wow. Horrifying. Why do we allow narcotics to be prescribed? Do they help in some cases?

I question the veracity of the "Attention Patients" sign.

First, "in lieu of" is misused.

Second, this looks like a justification for med management (where doctors make huge bank).  It doesn't address over-prescription, just more oversight of over-prescription.

Third, I believe Drogo was dying of septicemia before the witch intervened.

Drogo! Of course!!

haha geege!  you are right, they totally misused "in lieu"!!!  what dorks!  they meant "in light"—which probably didn't sound as smart to them.

good call on their part, because now i can disregard the whole message!

Sad when their own word use directly contradicts them. Kids, learn a lesson from this!

Say what you mean!

You might be correct, Geege, but as per Wikipedia (bold italics below are mine):

Iatrogenesis or iatrogenic effect, (/  ˌ æ t r  ˈ  ɛ n ɪ k /; "originating from a physician") is preventable harm resulting from medical treatment or advice to patients. Professionals who may cause harm to patients are: physicianspharmacistsnursesdentists,psychologists, and therapists. Iatrogenesis can also result from complementary and alternative medicine treatments.

In the United States an estimated 225,000 deaths per year have iatrogenic causes, with only heart disease and cancer causing more deaths.[1]

(AND that above footnote [1] is dated from a report issued in the year 2000, which means older data still.  And my understanding is that deaths from prescription drug use and abuse has only been skyrocketing in the decade plus since then...but am not sure if those death rates ALONE are greatest death rate above all; certainly wouldn't be hard to believe that ALL below iatrogenic effects combined are number one nowadays...)

Some iatrogenic effects are clearly defined and easily recognized, such as a complication following a surgical procedure. Less obvious ones require significant investigation to identify, such as complex drug interactions.

Causes of iatrogenesis include

PS  That patient sign was from my doctor's office, and he's pretty chill on the narcotic prescriptions and med management, but not sure if he makes big bank.

PPS  Adam, narcotics are essential for palliative care, such as reducing or eliminating pain for terminally ill patients or severely damaged ones.  I had a problem awhile back here in Texas with pain medication for a couple of badly herniated discs in my neck, whereby I was eating 2000mg of Vicodin every four hours just to be sane (somewhat): I would have gladly amputated my neck, shoulder and arm with a spoon without it at the time... and the Texas doctors I was using then wouldn't renew my prescription.  I had to find other suppliers.  Ridiculous policy for an adult in mind-numbing pain; perfect policy for a teenager attending a rave. Canada does palliative care policy and execution MUCH better... and they have to.

Thanks for explaining, Rob.  

There's got to be a better way!

2 grams of Vicodin every 4 hours?! Mother of God!!

Remember that Vicodin is almost entirely Tylenol. It takes 18 Vicodin to OD on the opiates. Only takes 1 - 4 grams, which is 2 - 8 tablets, to start causing permanent liver damage from Tylenol. Could be less if you drink alcohol frequently. This is why addicts "cold water extract" their pills... the stuff that gets you high leaches out readily in water while the Tylenol does not. Or so I have read on the Interwebs!

I didn't realize Vicodin is almost entirely Tylenol.

Thanks for the explanation. This explains why liver damage is more common than I thought. 

I thought it was all due to alcohol but there are many things that can tax the liver. 

This is related and seems as interesting if not more so regarding the percentages of various causes of death across specific age demographics... would have also been great to see this plotted by gender.  You can see this in interactive detail on Plotly at


If you got to the site you can mouse over and get accurate details about percentages for each type of cause in each demographic column plot.  

So sad about intentional deaths kicking in and being so prevalent at such an early age... not even sure what that is exactly, but seeing 1 to 4 year olds having to contend with it at any percentage is heart breaking.

Interesting that iatrogenics is not even identified...

What is iatrogenics?

Is intentional necessarily self inflicted or from anyone?

Iatrogenics are the negative effects borne by patients when their health professionals screw up, whether by accident or intention.

I don't know about how the above plots are defined in the graph I posted... it's just so sad and shocking to see that intentional deaths even appear for the youngest children (I mean aren't we mostly well beyond the low Middle Ages and China's one baby policy?) Because these plots of results appear across ages of the so very young I'm inclined to believe the intentional deaths represented are not self-inflicted ones, but likely the cause of some other person, whether a malevolent elder sibling or adult in the local vicinity...

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for rivalry, competition and violence... even until death (I've played rugby), but only among individuals fully capable of their own agency and willing to accept the consequences beforehand.

Pity the children...

I'm still left with a sense that child mortality rates are lower than they've ever been.

And thanks for the explanation of iatrogenics.

Totally agree, child morality is lower than ever... Hans Rosling presents some good data in fantastic style on this issue here:


That was a great video. Thank you Rob!

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