Entries in Death Rates (5)


Report: Diabetics Living Longer, But Diabetes Rates in US Are Still Rising

Jeffrey Hamilton/Lifesize/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- People with diabetes are living longer, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report credits healthier lifestyles and better management of the disease as reasons for the extended lifespan. People are less likely to smoke and more inclined to be physically active, reports My Health News Daily.
Between 1997 and 2004, the percentage of people who have died from diabetes has dropped 23 percent, says the report.
Despite these promising numbers, the number of people with diabetes has tripled since 1980, especially in cases of type 2. This has been linked to the rise in obesity, inactivity, and older age, according to My Health News Daily.
The CDC estimates that 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, and seven million of those carriers are not even aware of it.
Longer life spans are promising for those currently living with the disease, and Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation says “taking care of your heart through healthy lifestyle choices is making a difference.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are Temperature Swings Killing the Elderly?

Comstock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- After the warmest March on record, people are already talking about whether a scorching summer lies ahead.

It turns out that even small changes in summer temperature may pose a health risk to older adults with chronic medical conditions, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Summers in which temperatures were more of a roller-coaster ride posed a greater hazard for people who had recently been hospitalized for a variety of illnesses than those summers with steadier temperatures.

The study looked at patients over the age of 65 who lived in one of 135 U.S. cities for over 20 years, and who had recently been hospitalized for heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, or diabetes.

Researchers found that for each extra Celsius degree in temperature swings, older people with these conditions experienced a 2.8 to four percent increased risk of dying, depending on their condition. Based on these increases in rates, they estimate temperature variability could account for thousands of additional deaths per year.

“People adapt to the usual temperature in their city,” says Joel Schwartz, professor of environmental epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and senior author of the study. “That is why we don’t expect higher mortality rates in Miami than in Minneapolis, despite the higher temperatures. But people do not adapt as well to increased fluctuations around the usual temperature.”

“This finding, combined with the increasing age of the population, the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, and possible increases in temperature fluctuations due to climate change, means this public health problem is likely to grow in importance in the future,” Schwartz said.

The study notes that death rates and temperature swings were dampened in cities with more green space. Could trees help prevent deaths going forward?

Another potential intervention could include warning systems to be put in place when temperatures change by a certain amount.

“These findings are the first to demonstrate health risks related to temperature variability,” says Patrick Kinney, director of the Columbia University Climate and Health Program.

The study looked at temperature changes independent of heat waves and ozone levels, which are also linked to an increased risk of death in the elderly. Future work will focus on why the elderly do not adapt as well to heat, and whether changes in heart rate and blood pressure may be driving the increased risk.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cancer Death Rates Drop Again; Doctors Hopeful

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Cancer death rates for men, women and children steadily decreased from 2004 to 2008, according to a new report from four major national cancer tracking groups. The declines in death and new cases of cancer reflect progress against the disease in terms of prevention, diagnosis and treatment, but experts say rising obesity may present a new challenge in the fight against cancer.

From 1999 to 2008, cancer death rates declined by an average of 1.7 percent per year for men, 1.3 percent per year for women and 1.5 percent annually for children, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. The report was published online Wednesday in the journal Cancer.

The declining death rates applied to all types of cancer, including the four most common: lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers.

The numbers of new cases of many cancers have also been on the decline. Cancer of all types among men dropped by 0.6 percent each year from 2004 to 2008, the report said. Among women, the rate of new cases declined by 0.5 percent each year from 1998 to 2006, then leveled off until 2008.

New cases of many specific cancers went down, including prostate, colorectal, lung and breast cancers. But certain kinds of cancer actually increased, such as those of the pancreas, kidney, thyroid, liver and melanoma.

The news of declining deaths from cancer is not completely new. The rate of cancer deaths has been on a steady downward trend since the 1990s. Experts say the declines in both deaths and new cases of cancer are the result of a general better scientific understanding of how to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.

The arsenal of weapons to fight cancer has grown in recent years, helping doctors detect and treat cancer at earlier stages, and making it easier to beat. Equally important, say doctors, is the progress made in preventing cancer, particularly lowering the number of people who smoke.

The CDC reports that in 2010, 43.5 million Americans were current smokers, a number that has remained fairly steady since 2005.

The new report focused on the number of Americans who are overweight or obese, a factor that could undo some of the recent advances. The report noted that certain kinds of cancer that have been increasing, such as pancreatic and kidney cancers and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, are associated with excess body weight.

Some studies have estimated that as much as 40 percent of certain kinds of cancer, such as endometrial cancer or esophageal adenocarcinoma, can be attributed to obesity.

Dr. Rachel Ballard-Barbash, associate director of the Applied Research Program at NCI, said the report doesn't specifically tie rises in these cancers with the growing numbers of overweight and obese Americans, but that it's possible the two are connected. She said efforts targeting U.S. obesity rates could have a major impact on cancer rates in the coming decades.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Colorectal Cancer Death Rates Vary across the US

Comstock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Despite a steady drop in the number of deaths from colorectal cancer,  particularly over the past decade, a new study released Thursday shows that the decrease may not be happening equally across the country.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in the U.S. Researchers at the American Cancer Society reviewed mortality data from 1990 to 2007 across the U.S. and found that reductions in mortality ranged from 9 percent in Alabama to more than 33 percent in Massachusetts. Futhermore, states like Mississippi and Wyoming showed no decrease at all.

So what's behind the disparity?

The authors of the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that there is a strong correlation between higher rates of screening for colorectal cancer and higher reductions in mortality rates.

They speculate that economic disparity may be playing a role since 18.8 percent of people in Mississippi don’t have health insurance compared with 5.4 percent in Massachusetts, and this lack of coverage may limit their ability to get the recommended colonoscopies.

Copyright 2011 ABC News radio


Report: Cancer Rates Declining in the US

Duncan Smith/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new report out Thursday called the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer says overall cancer death rates have dropped by an average of 1.6 percent per year from 2003 to 2007.  The report added that the rate of new cancers in the U.S. has dropped by nearly one percent per year.

Researchers say the declines are part of a trend that began in the 1990s.  While lung cancer death rates in men started to decline over a decade ago, the researchers noted this is the first time a drop has been observed for lung cancer death rates in women.

Lynn Ries, a health statistician at the U.S. National Cancer Institute and a co-author of the report, attributes the drop of death rates for women with lung cancer to women quitting smoking.

"Women started smoking a lot later than men, so the peak in the mortality rate occurred a lot later," she said.

A combined effort of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society, the report is published in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio