Relax! Binge-Drinking Is Just 1 Thing More Likely to Kill You Than a North Korean Missile

If a giant tube of explosives hurtling toward America doesn’t kill you, chances are a painful disease will. Statistics say Americans will receive a diagnosis for one of the following diseases or die of an accident before being killed by a North Korean missile.

Review these ways you’re more likely to die and review your lifestyle so you can outlive any North Korean missile threats.

North Korea’s testing missiles to launch

north korea military marching at the capitol

North Korean missiles can reach the U.S. mainland. | Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s what you need to know before we discuss diseases. Kim Jong Un has been threatening to launch missiles at the United States. His threats have made Americans concerned about nuclear war. CNN reports recent missile tests conducted by North Korea demonstrate their missiles can reach the U.S. mainland. While this is worrisome, the likelihood is higher your demise will come from a common disease.


young man using lancelet on finger

Diabetes is more likely to kill you than nuclear warfare. |

According to CBS News, diabetes is the seventh most common cause of death in the United States. In fact, more people may be dying of diabetes than we think. Bob Anderson, chief of the CDC’s Mortality Statistics Branch told CBS News, “if you look at any mention of diabetes on death certificates, cases where it’s a contributing factor, the numbers are much much larger.” Anderson added that diabetes is named on nearly 245,000 death certificates as a contributing factor of death.

Hint: Keep your heart healthy to avoid the No. 1 cause of death.

Heart disease

Stethoscope sitting on an red ECG printout

Heart disease is the no. 1 cause of death in the United States. |

The no. 1 leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease. Anderson told CBS News the rise and decline of heart disease  “mirrors the rise and decline in smoking in the United States.” It’s important to note a study published by Kaiser Permanente researchers found deaths from heart disease, and other related illnesses, have leveled out since 2011.

Hint: The average college student does this dangerous activity all the time. 

Binge drinking

two men clanging glasses of alcoholic beverage together

It’s very common for people to binge drink. | GeorgeRudy/Getty Images

According to the CDC, “more than 38 million US adults binge drink.” Binge drinking is defined by the CDC as “men drinking five or more alcoholic drinks within a short period of time or women drinking four or more drinks within a short period of time.” So, for those imbibing, sip drinks slowly because alcohol related deaths are the third leading preventable cause of death in the US, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Hint: ‘Watch your step’ and ‘drive safely’ are two not-to-be ignored phrases.


Firefighters help overdose victim

Motor vehicle and drug induced overdoses are the most common types of accidents. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Accidents are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, according to CBS News. Car accidents, accidental overdoses, and falls are covered in the Accidents category.  “The largest proportions of these are motor vehicle accidents and drug overdoses,” Anderson said. The lesson here is to drive safely and avoid drugs.

Hint: Stop smoking now.

Chronic lower respiratory diseases

Woman smoker smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. |

The bad news first. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a diagnosis common among Americans. The leading cause of COPD is smoking. The good news is many respiratory diseases are preventable, according to the CDC. They recommend “avoiding first and secondhand smoke” and limiting exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants. With that in mind, quit smoking sooner rather than later.

Hint: This common disease is on the rise.


Cancer cell made in 3d software

Cancer typically plagues older people. | vitanovski/iStock/Getty Images

Cancer is the second most common cause of death among Americans, according to CBS News. Compared to other life threatening diseases, cancer is more likely to occur later in life.  “It kills you later than heart disease does on average,” Anderson said. Cancer is on the rise among Americans, according to the CDC. Cancer is projected to increase by 24% among men and 21% among women by 2020.

Hint: Symptoms of this deadly disease don’t show up until it’s almost too late.

Kidney disease

kidney cross section

Kidney disease is rarely caught early on. |

Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death, according to CBS News. The disease is described by the Mayo Clinic as “the gradual loss of kidney function.” The scary part about kidney disease, besides having a life threatening illness, is that symptoms rarely show up early on. “Because your kidneys are highly adaptable and able to compensate for lost function, signs and symptoms may not appear until irreversible damage has occurred,” the Mayo Clinic says.

Hint: Not having a good memory doesn’t mean you have Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease

brain and label to indicate Alzheimer's disease

There are things you can do to help prevent Alzheiemer’s disease. |

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. And it’s the sixth most common cause of death in the United States, CBS News says. As the Alzheimer’s Association points out, “having trouble with memory does not mean you have Alzheimer’s.” Depression, thyroid problems, drug interactions, vitamin deficiencies, and excessive alcohol use can contribute to Alzheimer-like symptoms. There are certain things we can do to avoid Alzheimer’s disease, according to Harvard Medical School. They suggest getting enough sleep, eating a Mediterranean diet, and exercising.

Hint: 80% of strokes can be prevented.


human head with headache pain

A stroke can happen at any time. |

A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen at any time, according to the National Stroke Association. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death and nearly 80% are preventable, the association says. Anderson told CBS News, stroke-related deaths have “dropped substantially.” To  help lessen your risk of having a stroke, complete the following steps: Identify your personal risk factors, work on reducing said risk factors, and learn the symptoms and how to respond to them.

Hint: Washing your hands can help to prevent the eighth most common cause of death.


Hospital bed

Pneumonia is a common problem for older people. | iStock/Getty Images

Influenza and pneumonia are the eighth most common causes of death in America, CBS News says. The two are grouped together in the same category because they’re used to monitor flu mortality, Anderson told CBS News. “A lot of these deaths are elderly folks who, say, have a stroke and are in the hospital and may develop pneumonia from being in a static position,” Anderson added. The best way to prevent influenza and pneumonia is to get vaccinated, the CDC says. Other preventative measures include staying home when you’re sick and washing your hands.

Hint: Be aware of your family and friends’ behavior and regularly check-in with them to prevent this from happening.


rows of guns in the UK

Suicide rates have been climbing steadily. | Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death and is on the rise, according to CBS News. The National Institute for Mental Health recommends knowing the signs and risk factors of suicide. They also suggest asking questions and listening. “Suicide rates have been climbing steadily since 1999,” Sally Curtin, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics told CBS News. With that in mind, it’s even more important to know the signs and maintain an open dialogue with family and friends.

Hint: This type of poisoning is more likely to kill you than a missile.

Blood poisoning

Man getting his blood drawn.

Blood poisoning is typically caused by an infection. | Picsfive/iStock/Getty Images

Blood poisoning is another leading cause of death. Blood poisoning, or sepsis, is typically a complication due to infection, the Mayo Clinic says. The very young and the very old are more likely to get sepsis. Prevent infections and treat them if they arise to prevent widespread infection, is the advice offered by the Mayo Clinic.

Hint: This actor proves having a full life with this disease is achievable.

Parkinson’s disease

michael j fox in a chair

Michael J. Fox | TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

Parkinson’s is a nervous system disorder known for getting progressively worse, the Mayo Clinic says. The diagnosis of Parkinson’s has been on the rise. “Parkinson’s is a fairly important category. It’s one of those that’s gone up — the numbers have increased over time,” Anderson told CBS News. Nearly a million Americans have Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

One of the most outspoken people with Parkinson’s is actor, Michael J. Fox. He’s had Parkinson’s disease for a number of years and established a foundation to find a cure.

Chronic liver disease

illustration showing male liver anatomy

Your liver is a filter for your body. |

Chronic liver disease occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy tissue, Hopkins Medicine says. The liver is the body’s largest internal organ and acts as a filter for the body. Keeping this is mind, treat your liver with kindness. Cut down on alcohol and make healthy lifestyle choices, the Mayo Clinic says.

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