Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States, with cancer close behind, according to new 2014 mortality numbers out from the CDC. However, an even bigger concern in the recent poll is that after more than a decade of steady improvements, the decline in mortality rates from heart disease and stroke has dramatically slowed nationally, and nearly leveled out since 2011.
Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States since 1910 (with exception of the flu pandemic from 1918-1920), according to the CDC, and continues to remain on the top of the list, possibly due to the rising rates of obesity and diabetes.
From 2000-2011 the mortality rate for for all cardiovascular diseases was declining at an average rate of 3.8% a year while cancer was declining at and average of 1.5% a year. Had that trend continued, researchers had expected cancer to overcome heart disease as the top US killer sometime around 2013, but the latest research shows that has not happened, and may not happen anytime soon.
A study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association found that the rate of the decline in all cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and stroke mortality decelerated substantially after 2011, while the rate of decline for cancer mortality remained relatively stable. The annual rates of decline for 2000-2011 were 3.79 percent, 3.69 percent, 4.53 percent, and 1.49 percent for all CVD, HD, stroke, and cancer mortality, respectively; the rates for 2011-2014 had halted to 0.65 percent, 0.76 percent, 0.37 percent, and increased to 1.55 percent, respectively.
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