3 preventable causes of death: Smoking, sitting and high blood pressure

ORLANDO. (Ivanhoe) – Heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke and unintentional injuries are the top five leading causes of death. They account for roughly 63 percent of deaths in the U.S. However, 20 to 40 percent of these deaths can be prevented. Here are more details about preventable risk factors that could save thousands of lives.

For years high blood pressure was the leading risk factor for death, but a recent study shows that there are other factors that are more dangerous.

We all know that smoking can kill you, which makes it the number one risk factor for death in the U.S. More than 16 million Americans are living with diseases caused by smoking and nearly 500,000 people die from these each year; 42,000 are from second-hand smoke. So not smoking does not only save your life, but also someone else’s.

The second risk factor for death is not high cholesterol or high blood pressure, but prolonged sitting. A 45-year study found that low physical activity and being overweight puts people at a greater risk for developing heart disease and dying. Dallas-based cardiac pathologist William Roberts, M.D. said getting everyone up and moving would have a huge impact on this country.

“If everybody in America lost 10 pounds, the health of this nation would skyrocket. Two thirds of Americans are overweight; two thirds,” Dr. Roberts told Ivanhoe.

Finally, rounding out the top factors is of course high blood pressure. It is called the silent killer, because many people show no symptoms, but it still affects one in three U.S. adults and is responsible for one in six deaths.  So doctors recommend getting your blood pressure checked regularly.

“We've got to prevent this from happening and we prevent it from happening by more and more of us taking better care of ourselves,” said Dr. Roberts.

Other factors on the list include high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high dietary salt.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.