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Ten Leading Causes of Death Among Women in the United States

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A review of the statistics from the Centers for Disease and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society ranks the following as the 10 leading causes of death among women in the United States:

Heart Disease

One quarter of all deaths among females is attributed to heart disease. The American Heart Association lists coronary artery disease, which leads to a heart attack, as the single leading cause of death for American women. Twice as many women die from heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases than all forms of cancer, including breast cancer.


The Centers of Disease and Prevention (CDC) statistics rank cancer as the second leading cause of death among American women. The American Cancer Society estimates 270,290 women will die from cancer this year. The three leading cancers that cause death for females include lung cancer, cancer of the digestive system and breast cancer.


The CDC ranks stroke as the third leading cause of death for women. The American Heart Association estimated that annually, 55,000 more women than men have a stroke. In 2006, the stroke rate of mortality for females was 60.2 percent of all stroke deaths. The reason is the average life expectancy of women is greater than for men and the incidence of a stroke is higher among the oldest age groups.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death among women in the U.S. COPD is a group of chronic lung diseases which include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Long-term smoking, which is the most common cause of COPD, damages the airways and progressively interferes with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs.

Alzheimer’s Disease

In the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease the degeneration of healthy brain tissue progresses and an individual is susceptible to pneumonia, infections, and injury from falls. Difficulty swallowing results in possible aspiration of food and fluids into the airways and lungs leading to pneumonia.

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EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for this information;was recently hospitalized when I thought I was having a heart attack;turned out to be less serious,but scary just the same;we as women,need to be more informed to the health dangers,especially at age 50 and over;I will turn 63 August 21rst; so, having this site is a great thing..Lets all check it out and keep it going.

July 18, 2010 - 2:28pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.