Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What a difference 100 years makes

A friend sent me an article listing the major causes of death in the United States in 1907. I did a little research to verify. Here's what I found for 1907. They were:

Pneumonia and influenza
Tuberculosis
Heart disease
Diarrhea
Stroke
Kidney disease
Accidents
Cancer
Premature Birth
Senility

Today (or within the last few years), the leaders are:

Heart disease
Cancer
Stroke
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (emphysema, chronic bronchitis)
Accidents
Diabetes
Pneumonia and influenza
Alzheimer's disease
Kidney disease
Septicemia (systemic infection)

The shift shows, in part, progress in the use of antibiotics. In part, it shows the effect of changes in longevity. Between 1900 and 2004, life expectancy for males went from 48.3 year to 75.2 years; for females from 46.3 years to 80.4 years.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul for sharing the data.

Let's hope that the major cause of death in the next 100 years will not be due to climate change (or climate disaster as some would put it), and its associated environmental causes. We might need to create a category for that soon, so it's not under "accident" or other "natural" causes.

sarah margaret said...

The poster above makes a good point. And what about #11 on the current list--"self-harm/suicide?" I wonder if WHO or some such org keeps global stats and where war figures in these rankings.

SWC said...

You might also appreciate this information:

Leading causes of death (2000):

1) Tobacco
2) Poor diet and physical inactivity
3) Alcohol
4) Microbial agents
5) Toxic agents
6) Motor vehicle crashes
7) Firearms
8) Sexual behavior
9) Illicit drug use

Mokdad AH et al. Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000. JAMA 2004;291(10):1238

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/291/10/1238

Anonymous said...

What about adverse events as a leading cause of death in the U.S. exceeding motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer and AIDS?
(1999 IOM Report To Err is Human)

Patient Dave said...

Re life expectancy now vs 100 years ago: I read something 10+ years ago that said those figures are very different if you filter out diseases of childhood, and look at life expectancy at age 20. (There was only a little difference in longevity once someone survived childhood.) But I haven't been able to find that reference again. Can you?

Paul Levy said...

Golly, Dave, you want me to do your homework again? I thought I finished doing that back in the '70's....

:))

Paul Levy said...

Oh, awright, start with this: http://www.seniorjournal.com/NEWS/SeniorStats/4-11-29LifeExpectancy.htm

Anonymous said...

Wait whatever happened to answering student questions on Wednesday :p

Paul Levy said...

Ooops, I missed Wednesday because of the holiday!