The Most Surprising Cause of Death in Every State

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Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tally up all deaths and related conditions to find the leading causes of death in the country.

So what diseases kill the most, and where?

Using 2014 data from the CDC, HealthGrove looked at all 113 causes of death and found the causes in each state that have the highest death rates compared to the national average. Only conditions that caused 100 deaths or more on average per state were considered.

For each of these surprisingly common causes of death, the states in which it is the most over-indexed are listed;  each state is only listed once.

Upon examining this data, certain trends emerge. As of 2014, assault is the most over-indexed cause of death in the South. On the West Coast, hepatitis prevails and in mountain region states, self-harm is the most over-indexed.

While there may be underlying causes contributing to these increased regional prevalences, such as the connection between thin air and depression that might explain the trend of self-harm in the mountain states, the current data is too limited to allow for causal inferences. However, noting these outliers can assist those wondering how and where to allocate specific types of aid.

#1. Accidental poisoning and exposure to noxious substances


Over-Indexed In: Ohio

#2. Heart Attack


Also known as acute myocardial infarction, this happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked.

Over-Indexed In: Arkansas, Kentucky

#3. Alcoholic Liver Disease


Heavy alcohol use can damage the liver and cause this disease.

Over-Indexed In: Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota

#4. All other forms of chronic ischemic heart disease


Chronic ischemic heart disease is different than myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) because it refers to chronic issues that affect the heart’s major blood vessels.

Over-Indexed In: New York

#5. Alzheimer’s disease


Over-Indexed In: Washington

#6. Anemias


Anemia is when the blood does not have enough red blood cells, which leads to reduced oxygen flow in the body.

Over-Indexed In: Indiana

#7. Assault


Over-Indexed In: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee

#8. Atherosclerosis


This condition occurs with the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances (plaque) in the artery walls. This can lead to ruptures and blocking of the arteries by clots.

Over-Indexed In: Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, North Dakota

#9. Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease


With enough atherosclerosis, other conditions may arise. The build up and rupturing of arterial plaque can cause various conditions.

Over-Indexed In: Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island

#10. Emphysema


Emphysema refers to a group of lung diseases that impede breathing.

Over-Indexed In: Vermont

#11. Clostridium Difficile Colitis


The bacterium, Clostridium difficile, can inflame the colon when the normal gut bacteria gets disrupted. This often occurs from antibiotics. The inflammation of the colon is referred to as enterocolitis.

Over-Indexed In: Connecticut, Virginia

#12. Falls


Over-Indexed In: Wisconsin

#13. Human Immunodeficiency Virus


Over-Indexed In: District of Columbia, Florida

#14. Intentional Self-Harm


Over-Indexed In: Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, Wyoming

#15. Stomach Cancer


This is also known as malignant neoplasm of the stomach. Malignant neoplasm, the condition in which cells divide abnormally and uncontrollably, refers to cancer.

Over-Indexed In: Hawaii

#16. Other chronic liver disease and cirrhosis


Cirrhosis involves irreversible damage and scarring to the liver. A few symptoms of cirrhosis include weakness, loss of appetite and easy bruising. Hepatitis and alcohol abuse are common causes of most liver diseases.

Over-Indexed In: Texas

#17. Septicemia


When infections get severe enough, bacteria can get into the blood stream, leading to septicemia.

Over-Indexed In: New Jersey

#18. Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified


Over-Indexed In: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, West Virginia

#19. Viral Hepatitis


This liver infection is caused by the hepatitis A virus and can be prevented by vaccine.

Over-Indexed In: California, Oregon

Research These Conditions on HealthGrove

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