What causes the most deaths in New York? Each year, the State releases data about what is killing the most residents. You might think drug overdoses or gun violence would top the list, but neither is in the top 5. Unfortunately, there is a lag in the data, so the most recently released numbers are from 2019. They obviously don't include COVID-19 deaths, since the pandemic really got intense in 2020. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 78,492 people have died from the coronavirus in New York since the start of the pandemic.

The data is for all ages, races, and genders from 2019, which is the most up-to-date data available. The #2 and the leading causes of death have both remained in those positions since 2009. Here are the top 5 causes of death in NY:

5. Cerebrovascular Disease
6,125 deaths (23.9 per 100,000)

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Occupational therapist Christy Perdue (R) balances James Mann, 70, as recreational therapist Elizabeth Penny (L) teaches Mann how to use the controls to bowl with Nintendo's Wii gaming system during physical therapy at Wake Med Health Park. Mann is a patient at Wake Med recovering from a stroke. The Wii helps with his balance, coordination and strengthening of his arms. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons defines cerebrovascular disease as,

The term cerebrovascular disease includes all disorders in which an area of the brain is temporarily or permanently affected by ischemia or bleeding and one or more of the cerebral blood vessels are involved in the pathological process. Cerebrovascular disease includes stroke, carotid stenosis, vertebral stenosis and intracranial stenosis, aneurysms, and vascular malformations.

7,065 deaths (27.7 per 100,000)

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CLRD stands for chronic lower respiratory disease, which Very Well Health defines as,

a group of conditions that affect the lungs and are considered the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States.1 CLRD encompasses chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis; as well as asthma, pulmonary hypertension, and occupational lung diseases.

3. Unintentional Injury
7,308 deaths (33.8 per 100,000)

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2. Cancer
33,418 deaths (133.6 per 100,000)

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1. Heart Disease
43,472 deaths (167.1 per 100,000)

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According to the New York Department of Health,

Heart Disease is a term that refers to several types of heart conditions which include CHD, valves in the heart, and congestive heart failure. The most common type of heart disease is CHD. CHD occurs when a substance called plaque builds up that narrows the arteries in the heart. A heart attack occurs when an artery becomes completely blocked, resulting in a lack of blood flow to the heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States and in New York State.

The total number of deaths from the top 5 causes was 156,405 (622.4 per 100,000).

It's apparent that we need to focus on fighting heart disease in New York,

CVD accounted for 32% of all deaths statewide in 2020 (BRFSS 2022). An estimated 7.3% of adults in New York State reported they have had a heart attack, angina/coronary heart disease, or stroke in 2020. An estimated 18.9% of New Yorkers aged 65 and older reported having some type of CVD in 2020.

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