Three top causes of preventable deaths decline

The number of preventable deaths declined from 2010 to 2014 for three of the five leading causes of death in the U.S., according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2014, the five leading causes of death for people younger than 80 were diseases of the heart, cancers, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases and unintentional injuries. Those five causes accounted for 63 percent of all deaths, according to the CDC.

The CDC estimates that 15 percent of cancer deaths, 30 percent of heart disease deaths, 43 percent of unintentional injury deaths, 36 percent of chronic disease deaths and 28 percent of stroke deaths were preventable.

In 2014, compared with 2010, preventable deaths from cancer decreased 25 percent, stroke decreased 11 percent and heart disease decreased 4 percent.

During those same years, potentially preventable deaths from unintentional injuries increased 23 percent (largely due to deaths from drug poisoning and falls) and chronic lower respiratory diseases increased 1 percent (a statistically insignificant increase).

“Fewer Americans are dying young from preventable causes of death,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, in a 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.”

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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