Leading Causes of Death in Females United States, 2003

Below are the leading causes of death in females for 2003.

All Females, All Ages Percent*
1) Heart disease 28.0
2) Cancer 21.6
3) Stroke 7.7
4) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.3
5) Alzheimer’s disease 3.6
6) Diabetes 3.1
7) Unintentional injuries 3.1
8) Influenza and pneumonia 2.9
9) Kidney disease 1.8
10) Septicemia 1.5
White Females, All Ages Percent*
1) Heart disease 28.1
2) Cancer 21.6
3) Stroke 7.7
4) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.7
5) Alzheimer’s disease 3.9
6) Unintentional injuries 3.1
7) Influenza and pneumonia 3.0
8) Diabetes 2.8
9) Kidney disease 1.6
10) Septicemia 1.4
Black Females, All Ages Percent*
1) Heart disease 27.9
2) Cancer 21.1
3) Stroke 7.6
4) Diabetes 5.2
5) Kidney disease 2.9
6) Unintentional injuries 2.8
7) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 2.4
8) Septicemia 2.4
9) Influenza and pneumonia 2.1
10) Alzheimer’s disease 1.8
American Indian or Alaska Native Females, All Ages Percent*
1) Heart disease 19.6
2) Cancer 17.6
3) Unintentional injuries 8.8
4) Diabetes 6.9
5) Stroke 5.1
6) Chronic liver disease 4.2
7) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 4.0
8) Influenza and pneumonia 3.4
9) Septicemia 2.3
10) Kidney disease 2.1
Asian or Pacific Islander Females, All Ages Percent*
1) Cancer 27.1
2) Heart disease 24.4
3) Stroke 10.3
4) Unintentional injuries 4.1
5) Diabetes 3.9
6) Influenza and pneumonia 3.0
7) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 2.3
8) Kidney disease 1.8
9) Alzheimer’s disease 1.5
10) Hypertension 1.4
Hispanic Females, All Ages Percent*
1) Heart disease 24.9
2) Cancer 21.1
3) Stroke 6.7
4) Diabetes 5.9
5) Unintentional injuries 4.7
6) Influenza and pneumonia 2.8
7) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 2.7
8) Alzheimer’s disease 2.2
9) Perinatal conditions 2.2
10) Kidney disease 2.0

*Percent of total deaths in the race category due to the disease indicated. The white, black, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander race groups include persons of Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Short and Full Terms

Some terms in the leading causes of death tables have been shortened from those used in the National Vital Statistics Report. Below is a listing of the shortened terms used in the tables and their full, unabridged equivalents used in the report.

definitions of short and full terms used in leading causes of death listings
Short Terms Full Terms
Aortic aneurism Aortic aneurism and dissection
Appendix disease Diseases of appendix
Benign neoplasms In situ neoplasms and neoplasms of uncertain or unknown behavior
Birth defects Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities
Bronchitis Acute bronchitis and bronchiolitis
Cancer Malignant neoplasms
C. difficile infection Entercolitis due to clostridium
Chronic liver disease Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
Chronic lower respiratory diseases Includes bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, bronchiectasis, and other chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Diabetes Diabetes mellitus
Gallbladder disorders Cholethiasis and other disorders of gallbladder
Heart disease Diseases of the heart
HIV disease Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease
Homicide Assault (homicide)
Hypertension Essential (primary) hypertension and hypertensive renal disease
Kidney disease Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis
Kidney infection Infections of kidney
Legal intervention* Physical or other force used by police or other law-enforcing agents, including military on duty, in the course of arresting or attempting to arrest lawbreakers, suppressing disturbances, maintaining order, and other legal action. Includes legal execution and excludes citizen arrest.
Pelvic Inflammatory diseases Inflammatory diseases of female pelvic organs
Perinatal conditions Certain conditions orginating in the perinatal period
Pneumonitis Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids
Pregnancy complications Pregnancy, childbirth and the peurperium
Stroke Cerebrovascular diseases
Suicide Intentional self-harm
Unintentional injuries Accidents (unintentional injuries)

*World Health Organization. International statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Geneva: World Health Organization, 1992. Available at http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/.External Accessed April 15, 2010.

Page last reviewed: February 18, 2015
Content source: Women's Health