The Demographics of Diseases in the U.S.

Every country has different statistics in terms of disease and injuries. Throughout the history of the United States, there have always been particularly diverse health problems that affect Americans in different ways. While there are many variations in lifestyle that are reflected in statistics for different states, there are many common factors that affect the lives of all Americans. Learning how these factors can be limited and controlled is one of the most important parts of helping limit diseases in the U.S. Understanding the statistics is also vital, and with collaborative efforts, it can be easy to reduce the severity of many conditions, and limit their prevalence altogether.

Related program: B.S. in Health Education & Behavior

UF Online Infographic: The Demographics of Diseases in the U.S.

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Heart Disease

Heart disease, hypertension, and stroke encompass the largest part of these diseases. It is the worldwide leading cause of death at 13%, and there is an average of 700,000 annual heart attacks that occur in the country. However, while it is one of the most common types of diseases that affects Americans, it is also one of the most easily preventable. 67% of the deaths are preventable, and can be lowered significantly with lifestyle changes, weight loss, and the proper type of medication. Studies show that men are often more affected, with a 39% chance of development in men and 35% in women. According to racial statistics, African American women are at a 35% risk, while African American men are at a 30% risk, the two biggest numbers, with Caucasians and Hispanic Americans following in third and fourth place.


In 2012, 1.5 million people died from cancer related problems. 8% of American adults will be diagnosed with some type of cancer throughout their lives. While it is a frightening disease to think about, there are positive and proactive ways to tackle it. Studies show that 21% of the deaths are preventable, as many of them are linked with lifestyle choices. Women are at a 1% higher risk of developing cancer overall than men, while men are at a 13% higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. The top three cancer diagnoses for men are lung, prostate, and colorectal, while, for women, the list is breast, lung, and colorectal. Seniors are often the most affected by cancer, as those between the ages of 65 and 74 have a 7% chance of developing it, while those over the age of 75 have a 28% chance of developing cancer.

Lung Disease

There are many different diseases that fall under this category. Lung disease has the highest chance of developing in women between the ages of 65 and 74, and in men between the ages of 75 and 84. It has been ranked at 5% in causes of death worldwide, and it affects over 12.5 million adults in the United States alone. These diseases, however, have a relatively positive outlook as well, as 39% of the deaths that occur before age 80 are preventable. Studies show that women are 25% more likely to suffer from asthma or sinusitis than men.


HIV is defined by three stages, each numbered as the disease progresses. African Americans suffer the most from this disease, where 47% of the population has it. This is followed by 28% in Caucasians, 21% in Hispanics, and 2% in Asians. 1.2 million cases are diagnosed every year, a significant number, but studies speculate that over 200,000 cases go undiagnosed. It is believed that only 36% of adults get diagnoses in the first place, and 44% of all instances occur between the ages of 20 and 34. 1.5 million people die from AIDS. In the United States, there is an average of 50,000 annual diagnoses made, with a mortality rate that is just a little bit over half. 62% of all HIV infections occur between two men. 27% of all infections occur between a man and a woman. Treatment options are slowly becoming more and more positive in their outlook, but the best way to avoid this disease remains prevention.


This is a disease that features a great deal of disparity. Caucasians are 26% more likely to die from this disease than African Americans, and 43% more likely than Hispanics. In total, Alzheimer’s disease affects over 5.2 million United States residents and only 200,000 of those individuals are under the age of 65. Studies show that women are 30% more likely to die from Alzheimer’s than men. Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of death among senior citizens in the country.

Understanding each disease and the statistics around them will help medical professionals prioritize treatments and help improve the prognosis and quality of life for those struggling with these illnesses.