Special Report

The Most Unusual Causes of Death By State

6. Colorado
> Cause of death: Atherosclerosis
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 3,457
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 9.21 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 2.7

Atherosclerosis in general refers to a disorder of circulation where arteries become hardened and thickened, restricting the flow of blood. This listed cause of death refers specifically to atherosclerosis of the aorta (the largest artery in the body), the renal arteries (which bring blood to the kidneys), and the arteries that supply blood to the extremities. In Colorado, the mortality rate from atherosclerosis is 2.7 times higher than the national average, with an age-adjusted mortality rate of 9.2 per 100,000. Two other states, Kansas (3.1) and Nevada (2.1) have similarly high rates. Atherosclerosis is more likely in people who smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and limited exercise.

7. Connecticut
> Cause of death: Inflammatory diseases of female pelvic organs
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 19
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: N/A
> Mortality rate compared to national: N/A

This category includes infections and other inflammatory conditions of the female reproductive tract, excluding the vast majority of sexually transmitted infections. With only 19 deaths reported, 24/7 Wall St. did not calculate an age-adjusted mortality rate for the state due to generally poor data reliability. Two states, Alabama and New York, both have age-adjusted mortality rates from these processes that are twice the national average.

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8. Delaware
> Cause of death: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 3,299
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 36.5 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 1.8

Atherosclerosis refers to the thickening and hardening of arteries in the body. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease refers to this process occurring in the heart, and is by far the most common cause of heart attacks. Delaware is a very average state in terms of disease mortality, with its greatest discrepancy only 1.8 times higher than the national average. The highest reported rate of mortality from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in any state is only 2.2 times higher than the national average, which was reported by Maryland. The District of Columbia, however, has a rate 4.9 times higher.

9. District of Columbia
> Cause of death: Human immunodeficiency virus
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 1,977
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 34.43 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 8.6

The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is the virus that leads to the development of AIDS. In the District of Columbia, the rate of death from this disease is reported as 8.6 times higher than the age-adjusted mortality rate in the nation. D.C. is an unfortunately unhealthy city, with mortality rates at least three-times higher than the national average in tuberculosis, hypertensive heart disease, hypertensive heart and renal disease, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and assault (by gun and otherwise).

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10. Florida
> Cause of death: Human immunodeficiency virus
> No. deaths 2001-2010: 15,563
> Age-adjusted mortality rate: 8.75 per 100,000
> Mortality rate compared to national: 2.2

HIV has a 2.2 times higher age-adjusted mortality rate in Florida than in the rest of the country. Florida is otherwise an average state when it comes to causes of death, with no other causes reported above twice the national rate. The higher mortality rate for HIV in Florida may be related to the relatively poor access to health care in the state compared to the rest of the nation, as it has become more of a long-term treated disease when patients have access to proper medication and health care. As of 2013, Florida had the third-highest uninsured rate (20%), and ninth-highest rate of people who could not afford to see a doctor (16.7%).