Leading causes of death in Kansas

This Friday, April 7, 2017, file photo, shows cigarette butts discarded in an ashtray outside a New York office building. (2017 file photo/The Associated Press)

Heart disease and cancer consistently top the list of leading causes of death in Kansas and Shawnee County. In recent years, both causes account for more than 11,200 deaths.

 

The leading causes of death in Kansas, based on 2015 data from the Centers for Disease Control and information from other agencies, are:

1. Heart disease (5,624 deaths): The leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease includes several types of ailments. The most prevalent is coronary artery disease, the build-up of plaque in the walls of the arteries. Primary factors affecting CAD are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity and diet. Heart disease mortality in Shawnee County from 2014-16 was 161.3 deaths per 100,000 population, a little higher than that of the state, which was 157.4 deaths. In 2002, deaths in Shawnee County from heart disease were 260.9.

2. Cancer (5,604 deaths): In 2014, the rate of new cancer cases in Kansas was 449.1 per 100,000 people; the death rate from cancer was 166.6 per 100,000 people. Of the 14,400 new cancer diagnoses expected in the state in 2017, the most common was expected to be breast cancer, followed by lung and bronchus and then prostate.

3. Chronic lower respiratory disease (1,704 deaths): Formerly called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, this category of diseases includes chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. Although the primary cause in the United States is smoking, exposure to air pollutants, genetic factors and respiratory infections can be causes. Chronic lower respiratory disease is increasing in the Kansas Medicare population, and in 2015, 11.4 percent of that population had the disease.

4. Accidents (1,475 deaths): Unintentional injury deaths may be fourth on the statewide list, but in ages 15 to 24 years, it is the leading cause of death. This category includes burns, automobile accidents, falls and drownings.

5. Stroke (1,364 deaths): Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds, and nearly 800,000 people have strokes annually. In Kansas, the stroke death rate has been higher than the national rate throughout the 2009-13 period. In 2013, the Kansas age-adjusted stroke death rate was 3.9 percent higher than the national age-adjusted rate. Risk factors for strokes include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and smoking.

6. Alzheimer’s disease (865 deaths): Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. Since 2000, heart disease deaths have decreased by 14 percent while Alzheimer’s disease deaths have increased by 89 percent. “It is the only top-10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed,” the Alzheimer’s Association reported.

7. Diabetes (684 deaths): Kansas has the 13th-highest obesity rate in the nation. In 2016, 9.6 percent of the Kansas adult population had diabetes. It’s estimated that 69,000 Kansans have diabetes and don’t know it. Each year, about 13,000 Kansans are expected to be diagnosed with diabetes. One in 14 Kansas adults have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

8. Flu/pneumonia (682 deaths): The age-adjusted death rates from influenza and pneumonia have decreased 3.8 percent each year since 1999. About 85 percent of all flu/pneumonia deaths occur in people aged 65 and older. Between 2005 and 2014, the number of people receiving a flu vaccination doubled, to 43.7 percent of individuals in the United States. In 2014, 38.1 percent of Kansans got the vaccine. The pneumonia vaccine is recommended for older adults and certain people in special circumstances; in 2014, 58.7 percent of adults over 65 received the vaccine.

9. Kidney disease (582 deaths): The incidence of chronic kidney disease in the general U.S. population is 14 percent, and more than 661,000 Americans have kidney failure. About 468,000 are on dialysis and 193,000 live with a kidney transplant. High blood pressure and diabetes are the primary causes of kidney disease, and almost half of the people with chronic kidney disease have diabetes and/or self-reported cardiovascular disease.

10. Suicide (477 deaths): Suicides in Kansas increased 7.3 percent from 477 deaths in 2015 to 512 in 2016. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the 15- to 44-year-old age group, and the third-leading cause of death for the 5- to 14-year-old age group in the United States. The average age of death by suicide was 44.3 years in Kansas in 2016.

(Sources: Centers for Disease Control; Kansas Department of Health and Environment: Kansas Health Matters; American Cancer Society; Kansas Suicide Resource Prevention Center; Alzheimer’s Association; American Diabetes Association; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; American Lung Association)

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RELATED LINKS

Read more about the Capital-Journal special section, State of Health Care in Kansas, at http://cjonline.com/state-health-care-kansas.

See the 24-page Capital-Journal digital magazine of the special section here.

 

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