Skip directly to searchSkip directly to the site navigationSkip directly to the page's main content
Skip directly to searchSkip directly to the site navigationSkip directly to this page's context menuSkip directly to the page's main content
State of Alaska

Complete Health Indicator Report of Leading Causes of Death

Definition

Death rates for the leading causes of death are the number of age-adjusted deaths from each cause per 100,000 population and ranked according to the number of deaths.

Numerator

Number of deaths from the specified cause in the resident population for a specific time period.

Denominator

Mid-year resident population for a specific time period.

Data Interpretation Issues

Results are ranked based upon the number of deaths. Using age-adjusted death rates can produce a slightly different ranking than that produced from death counts. Leading causes with less than 3 deaths are not reported. Rates based upon fewer than 20 occurrences are statistically unreliable and should be used with caution. Rates based upon fewer than 6 occurrences are not reported. [http://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/pop/index.cfm Alaska population estimates] provided by the State Demographer in the [http://laborstats.alaska.gov/ Research and Analysis Section] of the [http://labor.alaska.gov/ Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development].

Why Is This Important?

Death rates by leading cause of death show areas where health improvement and prevention programs should be targeted to reduce the number of deaths.

Healthy People Objective: Reduce the overall cancer death rate

U.S. Target: 161.4 deaths per 100,000 population
State Target: Healthy Alaskans 2020 Target: 162.0 per 100,000 population

How Are We Doing?

In Alaska, cancer is the leading cause of death, resulting in it being chosen as one of the 25 Leading Health Indicators addressed by Healthy Alaskans 2020.^1^ There have been more cancer deaths annually in Alaska than the next most common cause of death, heart disease, since 1993 when cancer surpassed heart disease as the most common cause of death. Alaska was the first state for which this occurred, and currently almost half of the states in the U.S. have more cancer deaths than deaths due to heart disease. The top 3 leading causes of death (cancer, heart disease, and unintentional injuries) account for just under half (48.3%) of all deaths in 2017.2 Cancer by itself accounts for 20.6% of all Alaska deaths.^2^ Lung cancer mortality, strongly associated with tobacco use, is by far the most common type of cancer, accounting for 22.0% of all cancer deaths in 2017.^2^ In 2017, the top ten leading causes of death claimed the lives of 3,139 Alaskans, comprising 71.1% of all deaths. Cancer continues to be the number one leading cause of death.^2^ Years of potential life lost is defined as the difference between the assumed life span of a "typical" person, and the actual age of death. Assuming that a typical person's lifespan is 75 years, the top ten leading causes of death were responsible for a total 42,962 years of potential life lost in 2017.^2^ [[br]] [[br]] ---- {{class .SmallerFont 1. Healthy Alaskans 2020. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. [http://hss.state.ak.us/ha2020/default.htm]. Accessed February 7, 2017. 2. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Health Analytics and Vital Records Section. Alaska Vital Statistics 2017 Annual Report. [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/VitalStats/Documents/PDFs/VitalStatistics_Annualreport_2017.pdf]. Accessed January 2, 2019. }}

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Heart disease and cancer have been the leading causes of death for many decades, both in Alaska and in the U.S. nationwide.^3^ Over the last 40 years, heart disease mortality rates have been steadily declining.^4^ Cancer rates peaked in 1991 for the U.S. and Alaska peaked in 1993, and have been steadily declining since then in both areas. For the U.S., the rate for heart disease is now just slightly higher than for cancer. Heart disease mortality rates for Alaska have consistently been lower than those for the U.S. over the last 40 years. Cancer mortality rates for Alaska have tended to fluctuate relative to U.S. rates but have always followed the US trend. In 2016, U.S. and Alaska cancer mortality rates were almost the same, with the Alaska rate of 152.8 per 100,000 being only slightly lower than the U.S. rate of 155.8 per 100,000.^5^ The third leading cause of death in Alaska results from unintentional injury. Alaska's 2016 unintentional injury mortality rate of 61.9 per 100,000 is nearly a third higher than the U.S. rate of 47.4 per 100,000.^5^ Alaska had one of the highest suicide rates in the U.S. at 25.3 per 100,000 in 2016, nearly twice the national rate of 13.5 per 100,000. Alaska was surpassed by Montana for suicide mortality rate in 2016.^6^ [[br]] [[br]] ---- {{class .SmallerFont 3. Detailed Tables for the National Vital Statistics Report (NVSR) "Deaths: Final Data for 2013." [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_02.pdf]. 4. Deaths: Leading Causes for 2012. National Vital Statistics Reports. 64(10). August 3, 2015. [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_10.pdf]. 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December, 2018. [http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html]. Accessed on Feb 13, 2019. 6. National Center for Health Statistics. NCHS Pressroom. Suicide mortality by state: age adjusted, 2016. [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/suicide-mortality/suicide.htm]. Accessed June 27, 2018. }}

What Is Being Done?

Healthy Alaskans 2020 has identified four mortality-related leading health priorities: a.) reduced Alaskan deaths from cancer (Leading Health Indicator (LHI) 1) , b.) reduce Alaskan deaths from suicide (LHI 2), c.) reduce the number of Alaskans experiencing alcohol and other drug dependence and abuse (i.e., alcohol-induced mortality) (LHI 14), and d.) reduce Alaskan deaths from unintentional injury (LHI 16). Other major risk factors for mortality are also addressed: tobacco use (LHI 4), overweight and obesity (LHI 4), physical activity (LHI 6), poor mental health (LHIs 8 and 9), and cost as a barrier to health care (LHI 23). See the Indicator Reports for the related Health Alaskans 2020 Leading Health Indictors for actions to reduce mortality.^1^[[br]] [[br]] 1. Healthy Alaskans 2020. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. [http://hss.state.ak.us/ha2020/default.htm]

Evidence-based Practices

See the Indicator Reports for the related Health Alaskans 2020 Leading Health Indictors for evidenced-based practices.^1^[[br]] [[br]] 1. Healthy Alaskans 2020. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. [http://hss.state.ak.us/ha2020/default.htm]


Related Indicators

Related Relevant Population Characteristics Indicators:


Related Health Care System Factors Indicators:


Related Risk Factors Indicators:


Related Health Status Outcomes Indicators:




Graphical Data Views

Leading Causes of Death, Alaska and U.S., 2017

::chart - missing::

Geog: Alaska vs. U.S.Mortality rate per 100,000 population (Age-adjusted)Numer- ator
Record Count: 21
All AlaskansCancer123.2908
All AlaskansHeart Disease108.4799
All AlaskansUnintentional Injuries57.9427
All AlaskansChronic Lower Respiratory Disease27.5203
All AlaskansSuicide26.7197
All AlaskansStroke27.5187
All AlaskansDiabetes Mellitus17.0125
All AlaskansChronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis16.3120
All AlaskansAlzheimer's Disease13.297
All AlaskansHomicide10.376
U.S.Cancer155.8
U.S.Heart Disease165.5
U.S.Unintentional Injuries47.4
U.S.Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease40.6
U.S.Suicide13.5
U.S.Stroke37.3
U.S.Diabetes Mellitus21.0
U.S.Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis10.4
U.S.Alzheimer's Disease30.3
U.S.Influenza and Pneumonia13.5
U.S.Kidney Disease13.1

Data Notes

Ranks are based upon the number of deaths in Alaska and not the mortality rate per 100,000. [http://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/pop/index.cfm Alaska population estimates] provided by the State Demographer in the [http://laborstats.alaska.gov/ Research and Analysis Section] of the [http://labor.alaska.gov/ Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development].

Data Sources

  • [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/VitalStats/Pages/default.aspx Health Analytics and Vital Records Section (HAVRS)], Division of Public Health, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
  • National Center for Health Statistics


Leading Causes of Death, all Alaskans, 2010 and 2017

::chart - missing::

Years 2010 and 2017Age-adjusted ratesNumer- ator
Record Count: 20
2010Cancer176.1880
2010Heart Disease151.3707
2010Unintentional Injuries58.5366
2010Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease41.5176
2010Suicide22.6163
2010Stroke40.8167
2010Diabetes Mellitus19.686
2010Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis9.870
2010Alzheimer's Disease25.985
2010Influenza and Pneumonia15.864
2017Cancer136.2908
2017Heart Disease133.4799
2017Unintentional Injuries63.0427
2017Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease36.0203
2017Suicide26.9197
2017Stroke34.8187
2017Diabetes Mellitus18.6125
2017Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis14.9120
2017Alzheimer's Disease22.297
2017Homicide10.476

Data Notes

Ranks are based upon the number of deaths in Alaska and not the mortality rate per 100,000. [http://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/pop/index.cfm Alaska population estimates] provided by the State Demographer in the [http://laborstats.alaska.gov/ Research and Analysis Section] of the [http://labor.alaska.gov/ Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development].

References and Community Resources

'''References:''' 1. Healthy Alaskans 2020. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. [http://hss.state.ak.us/ha2020/default.htm] 2. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Health Analytics and Vital Records Section. Alaska Vital Statistics 2017 Annual Report. [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/VitalStats/Documents/PDFs/VitalStatistics_Annualreport_2017.pdf]. Accessed January 2, 2019. 3. Detailed Tables for the National Vital Statistics Report (NVSR) "Deaths: Final Data for 2013." [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_02.pdf]. 4. Deaths: Leading Causes for 2012. National Vital Statistics Reports. 64(10). August 3, 2015. [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_10.pdf]. 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December, 2018. [http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html]. Accessed on Feb 13, 2019. 6. National Center for Health Statistics. NCHS Pressroom. Suicide mortality by state: age adjusted, 2016. [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/suicide-mortality/suicide.htm]. Accessed June 27, 2018. '''Resources:''' Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Health Analytics and Vital Records Section. Alaska Vital Statistics 2015 Annual Report. [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/VitalStats/Documents/PDFs/VitalStatistics_Annualreport_2015.pdf].

More Resources and Links

Alaska and national goals may be found at the following sites:

Alaska health promotion resources may be found at the following site:

Evidence-based community health improvement ideas and interventions may be found at the following sites:

Maps of health indicators for various subdivisions of Alaska may be found at the following site:

Additional indicator data by state and county may be found on these Websites:

Medical literature can be queried at the PubMed website.

For an on-line medical dictionary, click on this Dictionary link.

AK-IBIS Web Citation

Use and reproduction of the information published on this website are encouraged and may be done without permission. The following citation should accompany information from this website whenever it is used, reproduced, or published:

AK-IBIS Indicator Citation:
"[Indicator name]. Retrieved on [insert date] from Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health (AK-IBIS) website: http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov/.

Example:
Diabetes Prevalence. Retrieved on March 25, 2016, from Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health (AK-IBIS) website: http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov/.

Page Content Updated On 02/13/2019, Published on 02/20/2019
The information provided above is from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' Center for Health Data and Statistics, Alaska Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health (Ak-IBIS) web site (http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Tue, 17 September 2019 from Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Center for Health Data and Statistics, Alaska Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health web site: http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov ".

Content updated: Wed, 20 Feb 2019 14:57:22 AKST
The information provided above is from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' Center for Health Data and Statistics AK-IBIS web site (http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov/). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Tue, 17 September 2019 11:04:54 from Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Center for Health Data and Statistics, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov/ ".

Content updated: Wed, 20 Feb 2019 14:57:22 AKST