New Leading Causes of Death Emerge in United States

US report indicates new drivers of death have emerged over time and have continued to unequally affect residents at the state level.

Though the overall death rate per persons in the United States has declined by more than 22% since 1990, new drivers of death have emerged over that time and have continued to unequally affect residents at the state level.

A new systematic analysis has put together estimates on the trends of disease and conditions in the US, and how it was affected residents of each state. The results, from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), show the country’s health burdens have vastly changed from 1990-2016 — in ways that call for similar changes to policies and medical priority.

The GBD study is a comprehensive project that is quantifying intenrnational health metrics by covering 333 diseases and injuries and 84 risk factors. It is, by their standard, the most comprehensive state-by-state health assessment ever initiated and estimates disease prevalence and incidence, death, life expectancy, and several other metrics for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the nation overall.

Collaborators from the US Burden of Disease reported that overall death rates in the US have declined from 745.2 (95% UI; 740.6-749.8) per 100,000 persons in 1990, to 578 (95% UI; 569.4-587.1) per 100,000 persons in 2016. With the decrease in mortality comes a change in leading causes of death. While ischemic stroke and lung cancer remained the greatest leading causes of years of life lost (YLL) throughout the 26-year gap, conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), diabetes, self-harm, opioid use disorder (OUD), and chronic liver disease have become prominent contributors to YLL and mortality rates.

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