Less Death in US, Except for COPD Mortality

Age-standardized death rates are continuing to drop in the United States

Age-standardized death rates are continuing to drop in the United States, according to an American Cancer Society (ACS) researchers' study published today online in JAMA.

Jiemin Ma, PhD, MHS and ACS colleagues in Atlanta, GA looked at age-standardized death rates per 100,000 and found it dropped by 42.9% from 1969 to 2013.

The decline was true across many causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, unintentional injuries, and diabetes.

The only exception was in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which increased.

In 1969, there were just under 1,279 deaths per 100,000 population. In 2013, there were just under 730 deaths.

Men and women had similar trends for heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.

There were sex differences in unintentional injury deaths, with the rate for men decreasing while the rate for women increased steadily from 1992 to 2013.

The progress against heart disease and stroke is attributed to better care for hypertension and hyperlipidemia, smoking cessation and medical treatment.

Cancer deaths have dropped mostly because cancer rates have also dropped, due to smoking cessation. Accidental deaths have gone down largely because motor vehicle-related deaths have declined.

The authors cited possible inaccuracies in coding causes of deaths due to the conversions from ICD-8, to ICD-9 and then ICD-10 during the study period.

The study noted that while the ACS supported the research it had no role in its design or interpretation.