The leading causes of death in the Commonwealth from 2011 to 2014 are mainly non-communicable diseases, such as circulatory diseases, cancers, or metabolic diseases.
That’s according to statistics obtained by Saipan Tribune from the Health and Vital Statistics Office of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
An NCD is an illness that is incurable and requires regular health maintenance accompanied by a healthy lifestyle change.
Based on the numbers of the Health and Vital Statistics Office, the top four cases of deaths on the islands from 2011 to 2014 were circulatory diseases, cancers, external causes (accidents, trauma, poisoning, etc.), and metabolic diseases.
Circulatory diseases include hypertension, which is one of the most common and is also the leading cause of death nationwide. Other circulatory diseases include atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits in arteries harden. If left untreated, atherosclerosis constricts blood flow and oxygen to the affected areas, leading to heart attacks and strokes.
The four-year period from 2011 to 2014 showed that 18 percent of deaths in the CNMI were caused by cancer. In that same period, lung cancer had 28 victims, eight more than oral cancer. Breast cancer and pancreatic cancer came in at 10 lives and 8 respectively.
External causes of deaths have been on the rise. Although no statistics were obtained regarding external deaths covering the period from 2011 to 2014, statistics secured by Saipan Tribune for 2015 to 2016 show a jump in work-related injuries.
In 2015, the total number of work-related injuries was at 30. A year after, this jumped to 141. It was not specified which companies and what type of industries were directly associated with the high number of work-related injuries.
Endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases was fourth for the period 2011 to 2014. Unlike cancer, specific diseases have not been identified. One of the most common metabolic diseases is diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National 2014 Diabetes Statistics Report in 2014, some 9.3 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes. That equates to 29.1 million people. It is expected that over 550 million people worldwide would be diagnosed with diabetes by 2035.