Leading Causes of Death in Illinois and Associated Risk Factors

::written circa. Fall 2013.

According to the 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, a total of 2,468,435 deaths were registered in the United States (NVSS, 2013).  Of the number of residents, the top 3 leading causes of death attributed to: cardiovascular diseases, malignant neoplasms and respiratory diseases (NVSS, 2013).  In the United States, cardiovascular diseases accounted for 35% of all deaths in 2010 (WHO, 2011).  As for cancer and respiratory diseases, 23% and 7% were accounted, respectively.

In comparison, a total of 99,624 residential deaths were registered, in 2010, in the state of Illinois (IDPH, 2013).  Of the residential total, 25% attributed to cardiovascular disease, 24% to malignant neoplasms, and 5% to cerebrovascular diseases (IDPH, 2013).  Interestingly, respiratory associated mortality rates came just under 3rd place by 0.12% (IDPH, 2013).

With cardiovascular disease being the most prevalent in the state of Illinois, it is important to identify the basic understanding of associated risk factors.  Many cardiovascular complications can stem from an individual’s lifestyle, genetics, and environment.

As the heart essentially represents a muscle, disuse can ultimately lead to atrophy and weakening of the tissue.  And under hypertensive states, the weakened cardiovascular system can inevitably lead to high blood pressure, stroke, etc. An inactive lifestyle can greatly affect the heart’s ability to function optimally.  In addition, the flow of blood throughout the body is a vital physiological aspect for the perfusion of nutrients and oxygen.  With that said, the pathologies associated with the ability for the body to circulate and move blood back to the heart for re-oxygenation and perfusion can also stem from an individuals lifestyle.  In 2010, 24.9% of the total population in Illinois recorded to be “physically inactive” (IDPH, 2013).

Furthermore, with obesity heavily correlated with genetics and the environment, body mass index and diet can greatly serve as additive to cardiovascular complications (Goljan, 2013).  Adult obesity prevalence rates from 2007-2009 recorded at 29.9% of the total residential population of Illinois (IDPH, 2013).  In addition, obesity rates for high school students recorded at 11.9% of the total population (IDPH, 2013).  Interestingly, adult fruit intake in 2009 recorded at 0% of the population (IDPH, 2013). In order to address the health problem, in 2007, the Illinois State Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued a state plan entitled The Illinois Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program.  Of the 12 goals listed, education & awareness, health promotion, and access to early detection resources were dominating themes (IDPH, 2013).

In order to achieve the goals, the IDPH addresses to focus on 3 components: 1) Capacity Building, 2) the Great Lakes Regional Stroke Network, and 3) the Illinois CAPTURE Stroke Registry (IDPH, 2013).  The Capacity Building movement focuses mainly on the aspect of increasing the education and awareness of cardiovascular diseases and associated risk factors.  The Great Lakes Regional Stroke Network involves a network of 6 regional states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin).  All of which collaborate in efforts to “share experiences and resources,” in order to implement a common plan to address the prevalent disease (IDPH, 2013).  Lastly, the Illinois CAPTURE Stroke Registry is a pneumonic for “CAre and Prevention Treatment Utilization Registry” (IDPH, 2013).  The focus of the CAPTURE program addresses the efficiency of immediate care facilities and resources for acute cases.

For someone who is already thoroughly educated in the pathologies associated with the cardiovascular system, there would be a bias in determining whether or not the associated statistical analyses for the state of Illinois were helpful.  Though public awareness and health promotion are significantly important in the primary care approach, it is hard to say whether or not they deem successful.  With the approach to publicize only basic information, for example “eat healthy foods” or “stay active” (assuming the population does not have that general knowledge), it does not necessarily justify whether immediate action is taken because of the approach.  Primary care in can only go so far in implementing against the free will of individuals.  Rather, efforts should be stressed on research towards the effectiveness and future of current medications administered for acute and chronic conditions.  It is believed and more convincing that “it is more difficult to reduce obesity and increase exercise, than to increase the use of effective medications” (Health Affairs, 2013).




Kochanek, K., Murphy, S., Xu, J. (NVSS, 2013). Deaths: final data for 2010. National Vital Statistics Reports. Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention. Volume 61:4.

World Health Organization. (2011). United States of America: country profiles. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/countries/usa/en/ 

Illinois Department of Public Health. (2013). Leading causes of death: Illinois, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/bdmd/leadingdeaths10.htm 

Goljan, E. (2013). Pathology. 4th Ed. Philadelphia, PA. Elsevier & Saunders

Bartlett, J., Fireman, B., Selby, J. (2013). Can disease management reduce health care costs by improving quality? Health Affairs. Volume 23, 6.

Author: nursesarereal

My nursing professor once said that keeping a journal, over time, will allow me to see growth. In myself? I’m not sure yet. I’m hoping. I like to believe that nursing school saved my life. Maybe I’ll have some fun doing this. Cheers.

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