Fascinating discussion from Scientific American on causes of mortality for both the US and Global populations. As SciAm notes, with global life expectancy rising, many causes of death are dropping off. What still fells us? Here is the list for the US; (Global causes after the jump)


Click to enlarge:

Source: Scientific American

Category: Science

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11 Responses to “SciAm: How We Die”

  1. In my estimation, the majority of people who think of themselves as “alive” are already dead in the figurative (and most important) sense.

    “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” ~ Viktor Frankl

    “To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.” ~ Erich Fromm

  2. howardoark says:

    “My young son asked me what happens after we die. I told him we get buried under a bunch of dirt and worms eat our bodies. I guess I should have told him the truth – that most of us go to Hell and burn eternally – but I didn’t want to upset him.” ~ Jack Handy

  3. ook_boo says:

    I take it “undiagnosed or other causes” means dying of old age. Shocking that so few people seem to die of old age.

  4. NoKidding says:

    Someone help me out. All of those causes of death are trending down since 1970. But population boomed in 1955. Is there some other chart that shows a cause that moves the trend positive, or should we expect a mass die-off around 2035? That would have created a middle class wealth boom in generations past, but with the getting side of the inheritance process 65, retired, no mortgage and kids leading independent adult lives… No big deal I guess. Just a lot of good deals on older Buiks and Oldsmobiles.

  5. dvdpenn says:

    Fascinating to see how much “malignant tumor” (cancer?) and heart disease account for so much. I know many of the recommendations from the longevity folks has to do with cancer screening and check-ups for heart disease.

  6. tagyoureit says:

    I see a list of causes death, but *why* do we die? :D


    BR: Hey, your right! I’ll fix

  7. wally says:

    A quibble, I know, but causes of death and ‘why we die’ are two different things. We die because that is programmed into us by our species to protect it from us, basically. A species which does not continually recall the old models and throw new ones out there will soon grow extinct because it ceases to adapt to changing conditions.

  8. mrrg says:

    Those are all examples of “how we die” not “why we die”. You’ll have to ask evolutionary biologists (and / or theologians) for possible answers to “why we die”.

  9. the idea that we are living longer is highly overrated. If you make it to 65 you gain a year per decade, and will match Thomas Jefferson who also died at 83.

  10. Hammer of Thor says:

    It’s more accurate to say that people are dying less for premature reasons, not living longer. Humans have always had an expiration date of 90 to 100 years. That has not changed.