Each year, nearly three times the population of Rutherford County die unnecessarily. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite, heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke and unintentional injuries as causing 900-thousand unnecessary deaths nation-wide every year. Southeastern states had the highest number of preventable deaths from these five causes. Tennessee stood 43-overall in the 2013 health rankings....seventh from the bottom. The volunteer state ranked 44-for cardiovascular deaths and stroke, 45 for cancer deaths, and 46 for preventable hospitalization. But there are solutions, as Robert Rickman reports...
The study suggests that, if all states had the lowest death rate observed for each cause, it would be possible to prevent:
- 34 percent of premature deaths from heart diseases, prolonging about 92,000 lives
- 21 percent of premature cancer deaths, prolonging about 84,500 lives
- 39 percent of premature deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, prolonging about 29,000 lives
- 33 percent of premature stroke deaths, prolonging about 17,000 lives
- 39 percent of premature deaths from unintentional injuries, prolonging about 37,000 lives
Modifiable risk factors are largely responsible for each of the leading causes of death:
- Heart disease risks include tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, poor diet, overweight, and lack of physical activity.
- Cancer risks include tobacco use, poor diet, lack of physical activity, overweight, sun exposure, certain hormones, alcohol, some viruses and bacteria, ionizing radiation, and certain chemicals and other substances.
- Chronic respiratory disease risks include tobacco smoke, second-hand smoke exposure, other indoor air pollutants, outdoor air pollutants, allergens, and exposure to occupational agents.
- Stroke risks include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, overweight, previous stroke, tobacco use, alcohol use, and lack of physical activity.
- Unintentional injury risks include lack of seatbelt use, lack of motorcycle helmet use, unsafe consumer products, drug and alcohol use (including prescription drug misuse), exposure to occupational hazards, and unsafe home and community environments.