Learn about top five causes of death in U.S. at DMU’s Mini Medical School

This year’s Mini Medical School at Des Moines University (DMU) will give you an overview of the top five causes of death in the United States. Beginning February 9, the five classes will be held each Tuesday evening, 7-8:30 p.m., in the DMU Student Education Center, 3300 Grand Avenue.

The goal of this year’s course theme – The Big Bad 5 – is to take some mystery out of the top five causes of death in the United States. The Big Bad 5 includes heart disease, strokes, cancer, trauma and infectious disease.

Understanding each of the five will enable participants to be more proactive in maintaining healthy lifestyles.

“We wanted to offer practical information that everyone should known,” explained Craig Canby, Ph.D., anatomy professor and Mini Medical School co-organizer. “Understanding major health concerns can help a person live a more healthful, aware life.”

This is the seventh year Des Moines University has offered Mini Medical School. The course is appropriate for middle-school students through senior citizens. Mini Medical School was launched as a community initiative so the general public could learn about medical and health issues. The curriculum is based on attendee feedback and topics that are timely. Attendance has increased each year and DMU officials expect more than 300 attendees.

The full five-class session is $10 for students (middle through grad school) and $25 for the rest of general public. You can register at www.dmu.edu/minimed or at the door before the first session. For more information or to sign up, call 515-271-1374 or visit www.dmu.edu/minimed. Most of the Mini Medical School speakers will be DMU faculty.

“Part of our purpose at DMU is to increase community awareness and understanding about health issues,” explains Karen Crosby, DMU’s director of community relations. “By focusing on five key issues in American medicine – cancer, trauma, strokes, heart disease and infectious disease – we hope to dispel any fear of these issues so that the public may fully learn.”

Des Moines University is the only private medical school in Iowa offering graduate-level, professional degree programs in osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, health care administration and public health. Founded in 1898, the institution offers superior academics in a collaborative environment. DMU students’ pass rate on national examinations and board certifications is consistently higher than the national average and the rates at similar institutions.

What are the Big Bad 5?

HEART DISEASE – There are actually several types of cardiovascular issues under the umbrella term “heart disease.” The most common type, coronary artery disease, is when fat and plaque cause a blockage in or narrowing of your arteries. This can lead to a heart attack.

STROKE – Vision changes, slurred speech, headache, numbness or body weakness may be a sign of a stroke. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain, which carries oxygen in the blood, bursts or is obstructed. Brain damage may occur quickly after.

CANCER – The symptoms, types of cancer and treatment for such vary wildly but all cancer is an abnormality of the body’s cells.

TRAUMA – Major injuries in the form of blunt, penetrating, body-altering or other serious types of trauma can lead to many complications and often death.

INFECTIOUS DISEASE – Another large umbrella term, this category encompasses any illness spread by virus or bacteria. This includes everything from the flu to Lyme disease, STDs, malaria, cholera and more.

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