Chronic Diseases: The Leading Cause of Death and Disability in the United States

Chronic diseases--such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes--are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. 

  • Six in ten Americans live with at least one chronic disease. Four out of ten adults have two ore more chronic health conditions.
  • Six of the top 10 causes of death in 2021 were chronic diseases. Two of these chronic diseases--heart disease and cancer--together accounted for nearly 40% of all deaths.
  • In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and adult blindness.
  • Most chronic diseases are caused by key risk behaviors: tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.
  • These behaviors can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure and obesity, which raise the risk of the most common and serious chronic conditions.
  • About one in five children and one in three adults struggle with obesity. Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
  • Nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension, and only one in four of those individuals has their high blood pressure under control.

The Jackson-Madison County Health Department has Health Educators certified by Stanford University to conduct training seminars on "Living with Chronic Diseases". These classes can be offered at the Health Department or offsite for locations within Madison County.