Canada had over 300,000 deaths in 2020. In contrast, America had over 3.3 million deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System. America does have a higher population than Canada, which is one reason why America’s death rate is so high in comparison. However, America also had the most deaths from COVID-19 in North America, at about 345,000 just for 2020 alone. Other leading causes of death were cancer, heart disease, and auto accidents.
Heart disease was the number one killer of Americans in 2020. Over 690,000 Americans succumbed to it. It’s estimated that one American dies every 37 seconds from cardiovascular disease. About twice as many Americans died from heart disease than from COVID-19. Deaths from heart disease increased 4.8 percent from 2019.
In Canada, heart disease is the second leading cause of death. It annually takes about 77,000 Canadians a year. According to Statista.com, the rate of death from heart disease rose from 180 Canadians in 100,000 dying of heart disease in 2019 to 247 out of every 100,000 Canadians dying from it. In both countries, heart health is important.
Cancer killed over 598,000 Americans in 2020. Cancer death rates have been going down since 2017. In Canada, cancer killed about 83,300 Canadians, making cancer Canada’s leading cause of death. These numbers are expected to rise to the aging of Canada’s population and its current population growth.
Many people ignore getting uncomfortable cancer screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies. If they got those tests, some cancers can be caught in the early stages, when it is most treatable. Some people pay more attention to avoiding a cold than getting a cancer screening test. A cold lasts for 48 hours to two weeks, but most people recover in ten days. Cancer takes much longer to recover from.
Although COVID-19 caused lockdowns and forced Americans not to travel, auto accident deaths went up 7.2 percent in 2020. Over 38,600 Americans died in car accidents in 2020. About 38,000 American die every year in car crashes. That comes to 12.4 deaths from car accidents out of every 100.000 Americans.
Accidents are the third leading cause of death in Canada. This is still 5.2 car accident deaths per 100,000 Canadians. Canada also went into lockdown due to COVID-19. Despite fewer cars on the roads, just like in America, car accident fatalities rose in places like Ontario. There were about 2,800 deaths overall. 27 percent of car deaths were caused by speeding. One in three of those speeding deaths were due to drunk driving.
In America, at least 4.9 million people are arrested and booked in jail each year. While driving under the influence doesn’t always lead to death, it’s just as possible you’ll end up arrested. To avoid both of these outcomes, be sure you’re driving sober whenever you’re behind the wheel.
The Importance of Annual Check-Ups
There are many things you can do to protect yourself from the leading causes of death in North America – heart disease, cancer, and COVID. Eating a sensible diet and exercising regularly helps your heart and your overall health. Getting an annual check-up can catch serious illnesses in their early stages.
Although both Americans and Canadians are sick of COVID lockdowns, COVID is not over. Still wash your hands frequently and refrain from shaking hands. Get vaccinated. If a business, school, government agency, or other area requires masks, wear one. People can have COVD and not have symptoms but still spread the disease. Masks help protect others, just in case you have COVID but do not have symptoms.
The Importance of Advanced Directives
Death can come suddenly, such as a heart attack or a car accident. That isn’t news. Everyone knows that. Despite that knowledge, about 37 percent of American seniors do not have advanced directives for end-of-life planning. It’s important to let your loved ones know what to do in case you die, become incapacitated from a stroke, or have to be hospitalized.
Let your loved ones know what your wishes are, such as whether you want to be buried or cremated. Get a living trust, will and, if necessary, a Do Not Resuscitate or DNR order. Designate a medical and financial power of attorney. Keep all papers together in a prominent place so your loved ones can easily find them.