‘Few Surprises’ in New CDC Report on Death Rates
The number of Americans who died from heart disease and cancer, the nation's leading causes of death, "continued a steady decline" in 1999, while blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory disease and blood infection-related deaths increased, according to an annual CDC report released yesterday. The study also found that deaths caused by HIV infections fell 4% in 1999. Here are some other mortality statistics from the study, which "found few surprises," the Washington Post reports:
- Heart disease caused 30% of the 2,391,630 deaths that occurred in the United States in 1999, a 1% decrease from 1998 (The latter figure describes the percentage change in the number of deaths, not the percentage change of the cause of deaths).
- Cancer, 23%, a decrease of 1%
- Stroke, 7%, a decrease of 2%
- Lung disease, 5%, an increase of 4%
- Diabetes, 3%, an increase of 3%
- Blood poisoning, 1%, an increase of 7%
- Alzheimer's, 2%, an increase of 24%.
The Post reports that this last figure provided "[p]erhaps the greatest insight," as experts for the first time used a new classification system for Alzheimer's disease to include "deaths related to a wide range of dementias," which "pushed" the disease from the 12th leading cause of death in 1998 to eighth in 1999, "surpassing other major causes such as car accidents and breast cancer" (Washington Post, 6/27). "The new data on Alzheimer's mortality adds to our understanding of the magnitude of this serious problem," Edward Sondik, director of CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, which prepared the report, said (CDC release, 6/26). The CDC report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr49/nvsr49_03.pdf. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat to view the report.
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