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LA County Mortality Rate Goes Down During Past Decade

Drops in deaths from AIDS, heart disease and stroke help the county's death rate drop 19% from 2001 to 2010. Alzheimer's deaths are up, though.

The death rate in Los Angeles County has dropped when omparing 2001 numbers to 2010 numbers.
The death rate in Los Angeles County has dropped when omparing 2001 numbers to 2010 numbers.

A 50 percent drop in death rates for AIDS, and drops in death rates for strokes and heart disease, helped Los Angeles County outpace the rest of the country in reducing its mortality rate during the past decade, according to a study released Monday.

The death rate in Los Angeles County declined 19 percent from 2001 to 2010, compared to 13 percent nationwide, according to a new report, "Mortality in Los Angeles County 2010: Leading causes of death and premature death with trends for 2001-2010."

"We're making great progress against several leading causes of death in the county," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's director of public health. "Notable over this 10-year period were a 37 percent drop in coronary heart disease and a 35 percent decline in the stroke death rate."

Deaths due to Alzheimer's disease increased sharply, more than doubling from 905 in 2001 to 2,242 in 2010 and ranking No. 5 in the leading causes of death.

"As the baby boomer generation ages, the burden of Alzheimer's disease is expected to increase significantly," Fielding said. "More effective treatments are needed, as are programs that support both patients and caregivers."

Deaths due to HIV/AIDS declined 50 percent, and deaths due to pneumonia/influenza fell 31 percent, according to the study. Deaths from emphysema and other chronic lung diseases were down 17 percent, and deaths due to diabetes fell 13 percent, the study found.

The overall death rate in 2010 was 615 deaths per every 100,000 residents, which was 17.7 percent lower than the national average of 747 deaths per every 100,000 Americans.

Death rates among black males were the highest for most of the leading causes of death.

The leading causes of premature deaths -- death before age 75 -- were coronary heart disease, homicide, suicide, motor vehicle accidents and liver disease.

- City News Service

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