ESTEEM Center for Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, English & Math



What Causes Death

And Is There A Way To Stop This Phenomenon?

Did you know that 2 people die every second? Death is something that everyone will experience. Whether it is due to natural causes, or an infectious disease, all of us will die. But, what causes it, and what happens after you die? 

Death is caused by many things. However, in the United States, the top 10 causes of death are:

  1. Heart Disease is the top cause of death. Around 700,000 people die from this every year
  2. Cancer kills 600,000 people every year, be it from chemo overdose, or organ shutdown.
  3. COVID-19 takes the lives of 416,000 people a year.
  4. Accidents kill 225,000 people a year.
  5. Strokes take the lives of 163,000 people per year
  6. Respiratory disease kills 150,000 people a year
  7. Alzheimer’s disease kills 120,000 people every year.
  8. Diabetes kills 100,000 people every year.
  9. Chronic liver disease is the cause of death for around 55,000 people in the US
  10. Kidney disease. Around 50,000 people die from kidney disease every year.

What happens after you die?

The first step of dying is when a person’s heart stops. When there isn’t any more oxygen being supplied to the brain, the person is officially dead. In the next day or two, the body will begin to change color and the blood will settle. Some parts of the body will be paler than others because of the hemoglobin levels in the blood. The next step is called Algor Mortis. Algor Mortis is when the body loses heat drastically to match the temperature around it. After this is Rigor Mortis. This is the time after death when the body stiffens and the muscles contract. This can look as if the body is moving. After this, the body begins decomposition. The enzymes in the body begin to consume the internal organs until there is nothing but skin and bone. After this other organisms decompose the body.

However, a new interesting technology has arisen. In Arizona, there is a cryonics lab, by the name of Alcor, where 199 people and heads are frozen, waiting to be woken up in the future. Cryonics is how a person is frozen in a facility to wake them up in the future. Cylindrical tanks full of liquid nitrogen contain the bodies and heads of humans, as well as around 100 preserved pets. Many of the patients had terminal diseases that had no cures, such as cancer. When technology catches up, the patient will be awakened and cured so that they can continue living. Some medical professionals are skeptical of this technology, but we still have to see the outcome of it, especially since no cryonics organization knows how to revive the patient.

Cryopreservation starts immediately after the person is declared dead when their organs are still feasible. Usually, cryonics teams are waiting for the patient to die for a while, and so they have to act quickly. The team moves the patient to an ice bath and replaces their blood with a preserving solution. When the patient arrives at the facility, the patient is exposed to cryoprotectants, which are chemicals that stop ice crystals from forming in the bloodstream. The body is then cooled to -320.8 degrees Fahrenheit. They are then placed in a tank full of liquid nitrogen. 

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