Common Causes of Death You Probably Aren’t Taking Seriously

Some of the most common causes of death aren’t what you think. Thousands of people die from cancer, diabetes, and heart disease every year. However, car accidents, drowning, and other horrifying fatalities aren’t any less of a risk.

Not including most of the leading causes of death in the United States, these are the causes of unprecedented fatality you aren’t paying enough attention to.


woman coughing

A lot more people die from choking than you think. |

The National Safety Council reports that choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S. Just over 5,000 people died as a result of choking in 2015. Nearly 3,000 of these victims were over age 74.


Pile of prescription pills spilling from open pill bottle.

Unintentional drug overdoses are very common. |

Accidental poisonings kill thousands of people every year. Many of these deaths result from unintentional drug overdoses — but not all of them.

In 2015, over 52,000 people died as a result of drug-related poisonings. An estimated 84% of these deaths were unintentional. Carbon monoxide poisoning, another related cause of death among people of all ages, also takes many lives annually.

Car accidents

Driver texts behind the wheel on April 30, 2016 in New York, New York.

Car fatalities continue to rise. | Getty Images

Despite attempts to reduce the number of fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents, rates in the U.S. continue to rise. It’s estimated that over 40,000 people died after being in car accidents in 2016.

How big of a role does road rage play in these rising fatalities? A large percentage of drivers report experiencing feelings of anger and aggression while driving, even if it doesn’t directly affect others’ safety on the road.


Elderly care and respect

Seniors are at an increased risk of falling. |

Older adults are at an increased risk of dying as a result of falling. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that older Americans as a whole experienced 29 million falls — causing millions of injuries and many deaths among people over age 65.

Certain medications could make people more likely to experience dangerous falls in their own homes if balance is affected.


Person drowning in water with hand reached out

Children typically die from drowning. |

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,536 people died annually from unintentional, non-boating-related drowning accidents.

Unfortunately, about 1 in 5 people who die as a result of drowning are children 14 years or younger. Those who survive unintentional drowning often suffer serious brain damage and disability. Learning to swim, especially at a young age, is one of the most effective ways to prevent drowning.

Drug overdose

Man tired from drugs

The opioid crisis has been responsible for a lot of deaths. | John Moore/Getty Images

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that about 64,000 Americans died as a result of a drug overdose in 2016. Synthetic opiates were among the most common causes of drug overdose that year.

Overdosing on any kind of drug can cause irreversible damage to your body and brain. The reason so many overdoses result in fatalities is because not all symptoms are obvious. By the time the body and brain begin to break down, it might already be too late.



An alarming number of people commit suicide each year. | Cas Photography/iStock/Getty Images

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates nearly 45,000 Americans die by suicide every single year. It’s the 10th leading cause of death nationally.

Depression doesn’t always result in thoughts of suicide, but it’s a likely cause. Here are the signs someone is contemplating suicide. If you or someone you know displays any of these signs, call a suicide prevention hotline right away to keep you and your loved ones safe.

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