America’s 10 Deadliest Diseases

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10. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
> Total Deaths in 2013:
36,427

As is the case with many of the diseases killing the most Americans, liver disease and cirrhosis are often attributable to unhealthy behavior. The most common causes of liver disease are hepatitis B and C and alcohol abuse. However, the mortality rate for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis is on the rise while the incidence of alcohol abuse and hepatitis has remained relatively stable. Meanwhile, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition with no known cause, has seen a two-fold increase, likely contributing most to the rise in mortality from chronic liver disease.

9. Septicemia
> Total Deaths in 2013:
38,156

The septicemia mortality rate increased from 11.0 deaths per 100,000 people in 1999 to 12.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013. Septicemia, also known as sepsis, is a serious response of the body’s immune system to an infection. While infection of any kind can lead to sepsis, according to Allen, most are commonly caused by bacteria or fungal infection getting into the bloodstream from an underlying pneumonia, urinary tract infection, gut infection, or skin wound. Septicemia can also occur due to an infection caused by a surgical procedure. An estimated 10% of all hospital patients develop sepsis, and one in 10 of those patients die.

8. Chronic kidney disease
> Total Deaths in 2013:
47,112

The most common causes of renal failure, according to Allen, are chronic diabetes and high blood pressure. While the prevalence of high blood pressure in adults has decreased substantially from roughly 20% to 12% between 1999 and 2010, chronic kidney diseases have become more common. The death rate from nephritis — inflammation of the kidneys — increased from 12.7 to 14.9 deaths per 100,000 people over the period of 1999 through 2013. The increase is likely attributable to growing diabetes rates. As is the case with several other deadly diseases, Allen explained, the incidence of chronic kidney disease could be considerably reduced with lower smoking rates.