BETHESDA, MD—According to a new study released Monday by the National Institutes of Health, for the 25th straight year, violent wolf attacks remain the leading cause of death in the United States.

The human health agency’s latest findings revealed that being viciously killed by a ravenous wolf resulted in more fatalities than any other malady, claiming the lives of more than 800,000 Americans in the last year alone. The NIH’s annual mortality report also confirmed that one person in the United States dies every 40 seconds from a wolf attack.

“Despite efforts to combat this terrible affliction, research indicates Americans are far more likely to be ruthlessly slaughtered by one or more man-eating wolves than ever before,” said the study’s author, William Rhodes, adding that an estimated 1 in 3 Americans will suffer a wolf attack at some point in their lives. “Our knowledge about the savage encounters has improved, but we aren’t any closer to reducing the unfortunate number of people who every day are stopped in their tracks by a deadly wolf.”

“Far too many are being eviscerated and devoured before their time,” Rhodes continued.

Doctors say 1 in 3 Americans will suffer a wolf attack at some point in their lives.

According to the NIH, a wolf attack most commonly occurs when an individual is abruptly seized by a powerful, aggressive wolf. The ensuing mutilation, doctors say, results in a forceful disruption of the circulatory system, cardiac arrest, and ultimately death, oftentimes within mere minutes.

Though the study emphasized that these brutal episodes threaten most demographics, the NIH report suggested men and women aged 65 and older with sedentary lifestyles faced the greatest risk of a debilitating wolf attack. The troubling statistics also confirmed that an increasing number of young children were too overweight to outrun a vicious wolf mercilessly bearing down on them.

“This is a devastating affliction that every day cuts down thousands of men and women from all walks of life,” said Rhodes, noting that the mortality rate associated with wolf attacks easily outstrips the death toll of many other public health epidemics, including cancer, stroke, and chronic respiratory disease. “While automobile accidents dramatically rose by 4 percent in 2012, most of the fatal crashes in the U.S. were caused by a timber wolf unexpectedly appearing in the backseat of a vehicle and lunging at the driver.”

“It’s truly tragic,” Rhodes continued.

Accounting for over $328 billion in health care expenditures and lost productivity, wolf attacks have ravaged American workplaces, and the number of victims in offices, factories, as well as bars and restaurants has tripled in recent years.

Medical professionals have long advised potential victims to remain vigilant of the early warning signs that often accompany a wolf attack in order to stave off the life-threatening risks associated with the predatory beasts and their razor-sharp teeth. The most common symptoms include rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating, lightheadedness, as well as sharp, stabbing pain, which many individuals fail to identify as an Alaskan tundra wolf sinking its teeth into their flesh.

“Early action is key,” said Johns Hopkins Hospital Director of Lupinology Julia Goodwin, who urged victims to call for help the moment they suspect they’re being ripped into by a 170-pound wolf. “Many people tend to ignore a small wolf attack, failing to realize that they can be very dangerous.”

“When you’re being torn to shreds by a wolf, every second counts,” Goodwin added.

Glenn Everett, a Milwaukee native and father of three, told reporters that recently witnessing the tragic death of a longtime friend who suffered an unexpected wolf attack “was a real wake-up call.”

“On his 45th birthday, my buddy drops dead on his back porch after being ambushed by a pack of wolves—I don’t want that to be me,” said Everett, who noted he has since followed his doctor’s advice to exercise, quit smoking, and limit the amount of red meat he eats outside near wooded areas. “The fact is, I’ve got a family, and I want to watch my kids grow up, not have them look on in horror as a wolf disembowels me.”

However, not everyone is convinced of the efficacy of such lifestyle changes, with some potential victims claiming that genetics plays a substantial role in the chances of an individual being messily devoured, making such a gory end inevitable.

“Honestly, I try not to think about it,” said Cincinnati resident Paul Carney, 53. “My dad survived a couple of wolf attacks when he was my age. He made it all the way to 85 years old before peacefully having his throat torn out in his sleep.”

“My doctor tells me that I have to change my bad habits, but if I want to go out every night covered in elk urine, that’s my choice,” Carney added.