Suicide overtakes dementia to become eighth leading cause of death in men: New CDC data reveals America’s biggest killers

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Men are now more likely to die from suicide than dementia in the US, a major analysis of the nation’s top ten causes of death has revealed.

The CDC found suicide was the eighth leading cause of death in men in 2021, with 38,400 deaths per year, while Alzheimer’s was ninth at 37,000 fatalities.

Among women, suicide did not make the top ten — with 9,800 deaths recorded in this category. For comparison, Alzheimer’s was the fifth leading cause of death with 82,400 fatalities.

The shift appears to have been driven by rising rates among young adults, which has previously been linked to social media use and the rising cost of living. 

Overall, the report for 2021 — the latest year with data available — found heart disease, cancer and Covid were the three leading causes of death as they were in 2020.

The above graphic shows the top ten leading causes of death for men and women by year

Suicides are rising in the US and, according to preliminary data, hit a record level in 2022 with 50,000 Americans taking their own lives.

Experts have already said social media is partially to blame, with 84 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 years in the US on the platforms.

Other factors include worsening mental health among under-35s which has been linked to the rising costs of housing and starting a family.

For the report, officials analyzed data on all the nearly 3.5million deaths recorded across the US in 2021.

Deaths were grouped based on ‘underlying cause of death’ on the death certificate, or the main factor behind the fatality.

For both genders, accidents were the fourth leading cause of death (224,000 fatalities), strokes were fifth (162,000 deaths) and respiratory disease was sixth. 

Suicide was not registered in the top ten causes of death overall.

Newly released data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows 1,266 more people killed themselves in 2022, compared to 2021 - a rise of three percent

Newly released data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows 1,266 more people killed themselves in 2022, compared to 2021 – a rise of three percent

For men aged 10-30, suicide is the second leading cause of death behind unintentional deaths, including drug overdoses

For men aged 10-30, suicide is the second leading cause of death behind unintentional deaths, including drug overdoses

Other differences between genders included men being twice as likely to die from an accidental injury — such as a car crash — compared to women.

There were 149,602 fatalities from accidents recorded among men, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the group, compared to 75,333 in women — making it the sixth leading cause of death.

Liver diseases — often linked to alcohol consumption — were registered as the tenth leading cause of death in men, but also did not make the top ten in women.

Today’s report marks the first time suicides have overtaken dementia as a leading cause of death among men since 2015.

In the decade to 2021, figures from the CDC show the number of men dying from suicide every year has surged 24 percent.

Dementia rates have also surged as more adults are living longer, but suicides have now overtaken them.

Broken down by age group, men aged 20 to 24 years old had the highest rate of suicides at 19 deaths from the cause per 100,000 in the age group. They were followed by those aged 15 to 19 years old, at 18.3 per 100,000.

At the other end of the scale, men over 65 years old had the lowest rate which was below 1.8 per 100,000.

Alzheimer’s Disease

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