Why this is important
Across the population as a whole, chronic diseases continue to be the leading cause of death and disability in Dakota County, Minnesota, and the United States. These include costly and preventable illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. About 64% of deaths of Dakota County residents in 2011 were due to chronic diseases (1,444 of 2,241 total deaths). The long course of illness for some chronic diseases decreases a person’s quality of life due to activity limitations and pain.
What the data show
In 2011, cancer was the leading cause of death for Dakota County residents of all ages (148 deaths per 100,000 residents or 27% of all deaths), followed by heart disease (85 deaths per 100,000 or 15% of all deaths). The leading chronic disease causes of death follow the same order in Dakota County and the state overall.
There has been particular interest in recent years about cancer incidence in Dakota County because of the presence of perfluorochemicals (PFCs) found in drinking water in some areas of the County. In 2007, a study of cancer incidence in Dakota and Washington Counties by the Minnesota Department of Health concluded that cancer rates in these two counties are similar to the rest of the state.