Leading Causes of Death

The top leading causes of death are due to a combination of behavioral, environmental, and social factors. The leading causes of death in EJC are similar to what is seen in the nation as a whole. Understanding the leading causes of death can provide important information on how attitudes, behaviors, access to healthcare, and overall lifestyle affect health in a community. With this knowledge, specific programming and policy work can be directed towards reducing those death rates. In 2017, the death rate for all causes was 853.90 per 100,000 EJC residents which has increased from the 2016 rate (797.94 per 100,000 EJC residents).

Rates have increased in 2017 for accidents, stroke, Alzheimer's Disease, kidney disease, and influenza and pneumonia. 

Leading Cause of Death by ZIP Code, 2013-2017.

Leading Cause: Heart Disease in EJC

Heart Disease refers to various conditions of the heart, including ischemic heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, acute myocardial infarction, and many other conditions. The most common of these conditions, is coronary artery disease. Many different elements can increase risk factors including general health, lifestyle, age, and family history. Leading risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are present in 47% of Americans. In EJC, rates are lower than Missouri and have slightly decreased from 2014. Males in EJC have a higher mortality rate from heart disease when compared to females. 

Second Leading Cause: Cancer in EJC

Cancer is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases caused by uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells. Depending on the type of cancer, there are many factors that could increase risk including sun exposure, tobacco use, alcohol use, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity. In EJC, mortality rates from cancer are higher than Missouri. Just like with heart disease, rates are higher among men. 

Third Leading Cause: Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease in EJC

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease, which is also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, is a group of diseases that causes a blockage of airflow and breathing problems. Tobacco smoke is a key factor for the development of COPD in the U.S.; however exposure to air pollutants at home and work, genetic factors, and respiratory infections also play a role in the progression and development. In EJC, the mortality rate from chronic lower respiratory disease is higher than Missouri but has reduced from the previous year's rates. Males have a slightly higher mortality rate when compared to females. 

What Can Cause Changes in Leading Causes of Death? 

Differences in leading causes of death can be observed for several factors like sex, age, and race. It is important to consider different demographics while looking at leading causes of death to ensure services and resources are being appropriately targeted at populations who most need them. Leading causes of death change through different life stages. Cancer is identified as one cause that is found in any group. In the younger age groups, accidents and suicide are considered the leading causes of death while older age groups are mostly affected by chronic diseases. 

While most of the leading causes of death remain similar, differences can be observed when comparing different races. Chronic lower respiratory disease is one of the top five causes of death for White individuals living in EJC, while Black or African American EJC residents' top five leading causes of death includes homicide. 

Causes of Death for Children

The top causes of death for children 19 and younger are different than what is seen in other age groups. While chronic diseases are the concern for the older age groups, accidents and injuries are concerns for children and adolescents. For those under 1, the leading cause of death for Missouri and EJC was due to conditions originating in the perinatal period. For those aged 1 to 19 the leading cause of death for both locations was due to accidents or unintentional injuries. 

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