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What Are the Top Causes of Death for Senior Americans?

Based on statistics featured on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, the leading cause of death for elderly Americans is heart disease, followed by cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease. Summit in-home care professionals discuss these 3 conditions and offer tips on how seniors can reduce their risks of untimely death.

Heart Disease

In 2013, approximately 25 percent of the deaths in the United States were due to some type of heart condition. Coronary artery disease is the main type of heart disease, followed by complications with heart rhythms. According to the CDC, some risk factors for this condition include smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Seniors who can lower their blood pressure and cholesterol have a greater chance of lowering their risk of dying from heart disease.


In 2013, various types of cancer caused the deaths of approximately 584,881 people. According to the CDC, the leading types of cancer in women are breast, lung, and colon cancer, and the most common types in men are prostate cancer, followed by lung and colon cancer. Lung cancer contributes to the highest death rate among both women and men, and lifestyle factors and genetics are the largest contributing factors to a person’s risk of getting cancer. The National Cancer Institute claims seniors can reduce their risk of kidney and lung cancer by quitting smoking. Those who incorporate more non-starchy vegetables and fruit into their diets can lower their risk of getting stomach, esophagus, and mouth cancer. Losing weight can also help seniors reduce their risk. Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of many cancers, including endometrial and colon cancer.

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease

According to the CDC, diseases affecting the lungs and airways are the third leading cause of death in the United States. The most deadly lower respiratory disease is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and bronchitis. Both of these conditions can make breathing extremely difficult. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Seniors should avoid smoking and secondhand smoke to lower their risk of developing this condition.

Help your senior loved one lead a healthier lifestyle by reaching out to Summit Home Care Assistance. Our expertly trained caregivers can assist with daily exercise, cook nutritious meals, and help with a wide array of other important tasks. For more information on the live-in and respite home care Summit, NJ, seniors and their families rely on, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation.