Death rates on the rise for some groups in the county

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The Los Angeles County Public Health Department is reporting that mortality trends seem to be on the rise in certain groups in the Los Angeles County. 

Specifically, Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdose-related deaths have heavily increased. Between 2008 and 2017, Alzheimer’s disease increased 71% while drug overdoses increased by 28%, the Public Health news release says. 

“Mortality is one of the most important barometers of the health of our residents,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “These findings indicate clear areas of concern, which require a collective response to the complex social conditions that contribute to the many health challenges we face as a county, especially for those residents experiencing the worst health outcomes.” 

Across different populations, Public Health found that mortality among African-Americans remained 30% higher than the county average while mortality among native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders was 41% higher. Native Americans experienced a 27% higher mortality rate, the news release says. 

Additionally, residents in the Antelope Valley experienced a mortality rate 28% higher than the county average. 

Though there were rises in deaths among some groups, there was an overall drop of 6.2% in mortality rates in the county. Between 2008 and 2012, the decrease occurred and since then there has been little change. 

The report also included data on premature deaths, or deaths that occur before the age of 75. 

“These premature deaths are particularly tragic, as they are almost always preventable,” said Paul Simon, chief science officer for Public Health. “Not only do we need to take action to enhance integrated health care, mental health and drug treatment services, but we must all work to create safer environments and more equitable institutional supports to ensure that all people have the opportunities and resources they need to be healthy, irrespective of race or income.”

According to the report, the leading cause for premature death was coronary heart disease, which was followed with drug overdose suicide, motor vehicle crashes and homicide. 

For more information and a copy of the report, visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/epi/index.htm.

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