Before we run around with our hair on fire worrying about international terrorism, let’s look at the leading causes of death in the U.S. on an annual basis.
The below information comes from medicalnewstoday.com and is from the year 2013, which was the most recent year data was available. The number is deaths on an annual basis from 2013.
- Heart disease: 611,105 deaths per year.
- Cancer (malignant neoplasms): 584,881 deaths.
- Chronic lower respiratory disease. This includes such diseases as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma: 149,205 deaths.
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557 deaths.
- Stroke cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978 deaths.
- Alzheimer’s disease: 84,767 deaths.
- Diabetes (diabetes mellitus): 75,578 deaths.
- Influenza and pneumonia: 56,979 deaths.
- Kidney disease (nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis): 47,112 deaths.
- Suicide (intentional self-harm): 41,149 deaths.
Terrorism didn’t make the top 10. According to the website medhealth.com, terrorism doesn’t make the top 25 causes of death in the U.S., and the top 25 includes things like accidental firearms discharge and falls from buildings.
So, apparently, you are more likely to die from accidentally discharging a gun or falling from a building than to die from terrorism.
By the same token, the US spends more than $500 million per victim on anti-terrorism efforts, according to the group Think by Numbers. Cancer research spending is only $10,000 per victim.
This gives perspective. For example, some news channels have been talking about the recent terrorist attacks in France on a 24-hour basis. Shouldn’t we be discussing heart disease with that same fervor?
Some might argue that “there’s nothing we can do about heart disease, but we can do something about terrorism.” This simply isn’t true. Experts say that we can lower our risk of heart disease by eating a healthy diet and lowering our stress levels.
So, where is the “war on heart disease,” complete with 24-hour cable TV coverage?