Deaths are reported and tracked using a diagnosis code, currently the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, or (ICD10). These codes help in identifying trends and conducting analysis to identify causes of death in a population.

Since 1921, heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the U.S.6 In the years between 1900 and 1920 heart disease was second only to deaths caused by influenza/pneumonia and tuberculosis. The great influenza pandemic of 1918 that killed between 20 and 40 million people globally had a material influence on those early rates. However, because of the introduction of antibiotics in the 1930s, the last 100 years have seen tuberculosis fall from a leading cause and influenza/pneumonia drop to the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S.7 Heart disease, (for ICD10 codes I00-I09, I11, I13, I20-I51), however, continues holding fast in its position as the leading cause of death for Americans7 resulting in more than 14 million deaths from 1999 to 20207, or 4.3% of the total U.S. population today. As an accumulative total in the past 21 years, heart disease is considered a leading cause of death in Owen County as well.

However, when examining the yearly trends in the leading causes of death, the gap between deaths from cancers and heart disease continues to narrow7 indicating like neighboring communities, deaths from cancer will likely become the leading cause of death in Owen County. It is worth noting that the cancer related deaths have remained relatively steady since 1969.

Leading Cause of Death Trend over Time