Pathophysiology: Causes of Mortality in the US


Each year, in the United States, millions of deaths are officially registered. Web sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and online journals like Journal of College Student Psychotherapy are defined as reliable because they introduce the statistical data at the governmental level and contain academic references and proved evidence due to their peer-reviewed nature. Each age group has its own leading causes of death which have to be defined and investigated thoroughly to protect the US population today (Gordis, 2009).

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Causes of Mortality in People Aged 1 to 24 Years

In addition to such causes as suicide and homicide, people aged between 1 and 24 years may die because of (Turner, Leno, & Keller, 2013; Xu, Murphy, Kochanek, & Bastian, 2016):

  1. Unintentional injury.
  2. Congenital anomalies.
  3. Short gestation.
  4. Sudden infant death syndrome.
  5. Maternal complications.
  6. Placenta/membrane complications.
  7. Bacterial sepsis.
  8. Chronic low respiratory distress.
  9. Neonatal hemorrhage.
  10. Circulatory system disease.

Causes of Mortality in People Aged 25 Years and Older

The causes of death among adult patients include (Marcus, 2016; Xu et al., 2016):

  1. Heart disease.
  2. Unintentional injuries (accidents).
  3. Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Diabetes.
  5. Pneumonia.
  6. Cancer.
  7. Chronic low respiratory disease.
  8. Stroke.
  9. Kidney disease.
  10. Parkinson’s disease.

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease: Cause of US Citizens’ Deaths

According to McCance, Huether, Brashers, & Rote (2015), a chronic lower respiratory disease is one of the most common causes of death among the US population, regardless of the age group. It is also known as COPD.


Tobacco use is one of the key factors that can be identified in the development of this respiratory disease. It is also necessary to admit the role of such factors as exposure to air pollutants, genetics, and respiratory infections that can cause respiratory disease. Poverty and the presence of other diseases may promote the creation of the conditions under which chronic lower respiratory diseases can be developed and become a threat to people.


The quality of air in the United States is low due to constant technological and industrial progress. It plays an important role in the development and progression of chronic lower respiratory diseases among the US population. Besides, such risk factors like age (people 65 years and older), gender (women), social status (divorced, widowed, and separated), and asthma history cannot be neglected.


The pathological process beings in the bronchial mucosa when lung tissue fails due to certain inhaled irritants. Bacterial infections may influence the work of the respiratory system and cause lung destruction. Human leukocyte elastase and oxidative stress lead to necrosis of exposed cells. When an infection reaches the mucous gland, certain airway structural changes occur and cause inflammation. The weight of bronchial walls changes and promotes hyperplasia.

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Emphysema is a part of a chronic lower respiratory disease that is observed in the form of enlargement of airspaces that leads to a significant decline in the alveolar surface (McCance et al., 2015). Airways are narrowed down, and a person can hardly breathe. Finally, dynamic hyperinflation turns out to be a crucial process in the development of a chronic lower respiratory disease. It happens when elastin is damaged, and airways are narrowed. These changes cause an air-trapping (Brashier & Kodgule, 2012).

Clinical Manifestations

Clinical manifestations may vary because of the level and volume of a chronic lower respiratory disease. As a rule, the most common symptoms of this disease among patients of different ages include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, cough, weight loss, and appetite loss. Besides, patients may have fever and cyanosis. All these symptoms can worsen or disappear with time.


Brashier, B.B., & Kodgule, R. (2012). Risk factors and pathophysiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 60, 17-21. Web.

Gordis, L. (2009). Epidemiology. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders. Web.

Marcus, M.B. (2016). The top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. CBS News. Web.

McCance, K.L., Huether, S.E., Brashers, V., & Rote, N.S. (eds.). (2015). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children study guide (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier. Web.

Turner, J.C., Leno, E.V., & Keller, A. (2013). Causes of mortality among American college students: A pilot study. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 27(1), 31-42. Web.

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Xu, J., Murphy, B.S., Kochanek, K.D., & Bastian, B.A. (2016). Deaths: Final data for 2013. National Vital Statistics Reports, 64(2). Web.

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