The Four Ways You’ll Probably Die

If you live in the United States, statistics from 2002 show that you’ll most likely eventually die one of these ways: by heart attack, by cancer, by stroke or by emphysema.

There are other causes of death that are quite prevalent among Americans. Many die of diabetes (closely related to obesity), flu and pneumonia, Alzheimer’s senility, kidney disease, systematic infection, suicide, liver disease, high blood pressure and homicide.

But it remains that chances are highest you’ll be offed by the following four causes.

Heart attack

The most prevalent cause of death in America. You are most likely to die this way.

The experience of a severe heart attack has been likened to a tightness or pressure described as an elephant sitting on your chest, which is actually just your heart muscle struggling and suffocating from lack of oxygen. The feeling comes and goes. Pain moves into your jaw, throat, back, belly and arms. You also might experience shortness of breath, nausea and cold sweats.

Heart attack suffers have additionally described an anxious, impending feeling of doom, as well as weakness, sweating, vomiting and fatigue. Heart attacks can last several minutes, but symptoms, such as abnormal heartbeats, can last for several hours or days afterward.

It’s possible that it won’t be that bad. I found the following (shortened) answer to “What does a heart attack feel like?” on Yahoo! Answers, written by someone that apparently had a heart attack:

I had very little pain, was very tired for no reason and lethargic. I had a slight tingling in my left arm, falling asleep but, then my hand was useless, I couldn’t make it work and knew what was wrong.

As the Nurse, with her eyes “Popped out and in awe” said to please get on the gurney, everything went black. When I woke, buck naked and with doctors, nurses and, interns, working on me. The doctor asked if “I was going to stay this time” I had died three times, they had to bring me back.

I then had six bypasses… I had what was known as a “silent heart attack” little to no warning.

Cancer

There are numerous forms of cancer one can develop. In America, you’re most likely to die of lung cancer. Here’s what happens: you first begin to wheeze. You start coughing, persistently, and it doesn’t go away. Eventually you begin coughing up blood.

Many kinds of cancer necessitate chemotherapy, which is administered in treatments. After treatments, patients often feel weak. Within two or three weeks, it’s common to lose all the hair on your body. It’s also common to experience bouts of nausea, loss of appetite and diarrhea.

If chemo doesn’t destroy the cancer, you will probably die. Dying from lung cancer is the result of lung tissue being so suppressed by cancerous cells that they are unable to absorb oxygen. Or, the lungs become infected and collapse.

The end of a life affected by cancer doesn’t sound too great. Someone on Yahoo! Answers said this:

I lost 2 of my brothers to cancer… It became obvious in the last couple of weeks that the end was near. They seemed to sleep a lot, they were not hungry ot thirsty, their pain became worse to the point where even the sheets would hurt over their bodies… They were on morphine, as their illness progressed they required more and more but was often difficult to get the dosage right….Since they couldn’t swallow…. They became increasingly frail, all body mass was disappearing…They were not able to get to the bathroom, their urine was bloody, they seem to sleep more and more, their breathing became very irregular…. A couple of days before the end was near their skin had like bluish bruises, started first on the legs and quickly moving up… They became agitated… They slipped into a coma…their breathing had like a rattling pattern, it was very labored and eventually became shallow and very irregular…

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  • mike y

    i like this. the inclusion of the yahoo answers is my favorite touch. life was so much easier when death was mysterious.

  • tracy morgan

    right now i have a really bad stomach ache, it feels like if i burp successfully it will be heard for miles, could i die?

  • Caitlin Kelly

    Death is now much more mysterious because we don't see it or talk about it. Most people will not die at home and many will not see firsthand the effects of these diseases. I've seen two relatives die of cancer. It is, sadly, something you will never forget, no matter how much you wish you could.

  • Rachel Zehava

    This article just took my hypochondria to a new level :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=555371269 Bill A Pomerans

    damn. this seems very very bleak

  • http://www.twitter.com/mexifrida Frida

    had a hard time reading the yahoo answer for cancer. flashbacks.

  • Beatrix

    Did anyone else find this comforting?

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    My money’s on liver disease.

  • http://thoughtsondying.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/ways-to-die-in-america/ Ways to Die in America | Thoughts on Dying

    […] been reading a lot of Thought Catalog lately, and tonight I happened upon this article, “The Four Ways You’ll Probably Die”. What I expected was Thought Catalog’s usual humor and wit. What I got was so upsetting I […]

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