Top 11 Causes of Mortality in Florida

Doctors operating on a table in hospital with sanitary equipment

You live in Florida, the Sunshine State. It’s a place known for its beautiful beaches and fun-filled lifestyle. But behind the scenes, some serious health issues are affecting the people here. Let’s take a closer look at the Top Causes of Mortality in Florida and what you can do to stay healthy.

11. Heart disease – the number one killer

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. as well as in Florida. It’s a big problem, but there are things you can do to lower your risk. The main culprits are poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and high blood pressure. Many Floridians struggle with these risk factors, which can lead to conditions like coronary artery disease and heart attacks.

5 interesting facts about heart disease Details
1. Flu Shots and Heart Health Annual flu shots can prevent severe complications in heart disease patients and are preferable to the nasal spray vaccine due to safety concerns.
2. Social Interaction Regular time with friends and family reduces heart attack risk by mitigating stress and preventing depression.
3. Timing of Heart Attacks Heart attacks are more common and severe on Monday mornings and during fall and winter due to higher morning blood viscosity and stress hormones.
4. Aspirin During Heart Attack Chewing a 325-milligram aspirin at the onset of heart attack symptoms can quickly dissolve clots and limit heart damage.
5. Exercise and Cardiac Death Playing racket sports, swimming, aerobics, and cycling significantly reduce the risk of cardiac death, with racket sports offering the most protection.

To prevent heart disease, focus on making lifestyle changes. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Get regular physical activity, even if it’s just a daily walk. And if you smoke, it’s time to quit for good. Your doctor can also check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to make sure they’re in a healthy range.

Florida isn’t the only state where heart disease takes the lives of many, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri and Alabama have the highest death rates.

10. Cancer – a major threat

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Florida. The most common types are lung, breast, and prostate cancers. Smoking, genetics, and exposure to harmful substances all increase your cancer risk. And as you get older, your chances of developing cancer go up too.

Early detection is key for beating cancer. Make sure to get screened regularly with tests like mammograms and colonoscopies. Your doctor can recommend the right screenings based on your age and risk factors. You can also lower your risk by avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular check-ups.

9. Chronic lung diseases – a breathtaking problem

Chronic lower respiratory diseases like COPD and emphysema are a major issue in Florida. The biggest cause? You guessed it – smoking. But air pollution and workplace exposures can also contribute. These diseases make it hard to breathe and can lead to chronic cough and frequent lung infections.

Quitting smoking is crucial for preventing and managing these lung diseases. But it’s not just about you – secondhand smoke can also harm the people around you. Public health campaigns aim to educate about the dangers of smoking and provide resources to help people quit for good.

Difficulty pushing air out is called chronic airflow obstruction.

  • Smoking cigarettes is the most common cause of COPD.
  • COPD makes you cough and be short of breath.
  • Stopping smoking can help keep your airways open.
  • Your doctor may give you medicines to help avoid or relieve your symptoms.

8. Stroke – a brain emergency

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is suddenly blocked or interrupted. It’s a leading cause of death and disability in Florida. The main risk factors are high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation.

If you think someone is having a stroke, act fast! Call 911 immediately. Signs include sudden numbness, confusion, and difficulty speaking. The sooner a stroke is treated, the better the chances of recovery. To prevent strokes, manage your blood pressure, control diabetes, maintain a healthy weight, and stay active.

7. Unintentional injuries – accidents happen

From car crashes to falls and drownings, unintentional injuries are a significant cause of death in Florida. The state’s many waterways contribute to higher rates of drowning accidents. And on the roads, speeding, distracted driving, and not wearing seat belts are major problems.

Safety should always come first. Buckle up every time you’re in a car, and obey speed limits. Around water, make sure kids learn to swim and always wear life jackets. Public awareness campaigns remind Floridians about safe driving practices and water safety.

6. Diabetes – a growing concern

Diabetes is a serious health issue in Florida that can lead to complications like heart disease, kidney failure, and infections. More and more people are developing diabetes due to obesity, inactive lifestyles, and poor diets.

Managing diabetes takes work, but it’s worth it. You’ll need to monitor your blood sugar levels, take medications as prescribed, and make healthy lifestyle changes. Eating nutritious foods, getting regular exercise, and keeping up with doctor visits are all important steps. Community programs offer resources and support to help you take control of your diabetes.

5. Flu and pneumonia – a yearly threat

Flu and pneumonia - a yearly threat - mortality rate

The flu and pneumonia may not seem too scary, but they can actually be deadly – especially for older adults and those with weakened immune systems. That’s why getting your annual flu shot and pneumonia vaccines is so important.

Public health campaigns target high-risk groups to encourage vaccination. Simple habits like washing your hands frequently and avoiding sick people can also help prevent the spread of these illnesses. If you do get the flu, antiviral medications can reduce the severity if taken early.

4. Alzheimer’s disease – a mind matter

As Florida’s population ages, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are becoming more common causes of death. While there’s no cure yet, early diagnosis and proper care can improve quality of life for those affected.

Age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, but genetics and lifestyle factors like diet and exercise also play a role. Public health efforts focus on raising awareness, supporting caregivers, and promoting activities that keep the brain active and healthy.

4 surprising facts about Alzheimer’s disease

  • This is a women’s disease. Women make up the majority of people with AD and their caregivers.
  • Pseudo-dementia is real.
  • Lack of sleep in middle age may increase dementia risk.
  • Vitamin D may have an impact on brain health.

3. Kidney disease – a hidden danger

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasing problem in Florida, often linked to diabetes and high blood pressure. Left unchecked, CKD can progress to kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant.

Early detection through routine testing is crucial for slowing the progression of kidney disease. Treatment involves managing underlying conditions like diabetes, making dietary changes, and taking medications as prescribed. Public health campaigns encourage regular screenings, especially for those at high risk.

2. Septicemia – a deadly infection

Septicemia is a life-threatening bloodstream infection that can rapidly lead to organ failure if not treated promptly with antibiotics and supportive care. Good hygiene, treating infections early, and staying up-to-date on vaccinations are key for prevention.

If you have signs of severe infection like high fever, chills, and rapid breathing, don’t wait – get medical help right away. Public health messages stress the importance of seeking treatment to stop septicemia before it becomes deadly.

1. Injury data from 2016

Now let’s look at some specific injury data from 2016 that shows where extra prevention efforts are needed in Florida:

  • Poisoning: There were 4,985 deaths due to poisoning, with the most affected age groups being 25-34 years old (1,251 deaths), 35-44 years old (1,175 deaths), and 45-54 years old (1,059 deaths).
  • Falls: Falls resulted in 3,174 deaths, predominantly affecting individuals 65 years old and older (2,755 deaths).
  • Motor Vehicle Traffic: Motor vehicle traffic incidents accounted for 3,149 deaths, with the most affected age groups being 20-24 years old (366 deaths) and 15-19 years old (187 deaths).
  • Firearms: Firearm-related deaths totaled 2,696, with significant impacts on 20-24 years old (255 deaths), 25-34 years old (529 deaths), and 35-44 years old (379 deaths).
  • Suffocation: Suffocation led to 1,161 deaths, most commonly affecting 25-34 years old (145 deaths), 35-44 years old (148 deaths), and 45-54 years old (171 deaths).
  • Drowning: Drowning caused 511 deaths, with children aged 1-4 years old (49 deaths) and 5-9 years old (14 deaths) being most vulnerable.
  • Cut/Pierce Injuries: There were 149 deaths due to cut/pierce injuries, particularly affecting 20-24 years old (16 deaths) and 25-34 years old (30 deaths).
  • Fire/Flame Injuries: Fire/flame injuries resulted in 131 deaths, primarily impacting 55-64 years old (26 deaths) and those 65 years old and older (57 deaths).
  • Other Transport Injuries: There were 111 deaths due to other transport injuries, affecting 55-64 years old (21 deaths) and 45-54 years old (22 deaths).
  • Natural/Environmental Causes: Natural/environmental causes led to 70 deaths, with the most affected being 1-4 years old (4 deaths) and 20-24 years old (5 deaths).

This detailed breakdown highlights the importance of tailoring injury prevention to different age groups and circumstances. Strategies could include substance abuse treatment, home safety modifications for seniors, traffic enforcement, firearm safety education, water safety programs, and more.

Injury data from 2016 - causes of mortality

The bottom line

As you can see, Floridians face a variety of serious health threats – but there’s good news too. Many of the Top Causes of Mortality in Florida are preventable with the right lifestyle changes and medical care.

It all starts with being proactive about your health. Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, don’t smoke, limit alcohol, and get recommended health screenings. Manage existing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. And don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for help making positive changes.

Public health campaigns also play a vital role in educating communities and promoting healthy behaviors. From safer driving to smoking cessation resources, these initiatives give Floridians the tools to take charge of their well-being.

At the end of the day, your health is in your hands. By understanding the risks and taking steps to protect yourself, you can enjoy everything the great state of Florida has to offer for years to come.