CDC Releases Death Rate Estimates for Seven Conditions

Troy Brown, RN

August 20, 2015

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, has released death rate estimates for seven selected causes of death, and the results are mixed.

From the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, death rates have increased for influenza/pneumonia, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes. Death rates from HIV have dipped slightly, and death rates from falls (for persons aged 65 years or older) have remained about the same.

The information is included in the first pilot release of Vital Statistics Rapid Release Quarterly Provisional Estimates (2014 – Quarter 1, 2015), published online July 19.

The new Vital Statistics Rapid Release program uses a current flow of vital statistics data from state records offices to provide access to the most current statistics for public health surveillance. By using provisional data, researchers can produce much more timely estimates for important health indicators than would be possible using only final, annual data.

The researchers estimated causes of death for 2013 and 2014 and for the first quarter of 2015. This is the first time mortality data for either 2014 or 2015 have been released publicly. The researchers based their estimates on all death records received and processed by the NCHS as of June 21, and they will update these estimates each quarter as new provisional mortality data become available.

The investigators chose to evaluate these seven causes of death first because of their importance to public health and the ability to make rapid estimates on the basis of available provisional data, maximizing the timeliness of the data release.

Upcoming quarterly releases may include additional causes of death, such as cancer, suicide, and deaths related to drug poisoning, determined on the basis of analyses of provisional mortality data.

Future releases will also include estimates based on provisional birth data.

Influenza/Pneumonia

For 2014, the provisional crude death rate for influenza and pneumonia was 17.3 deaths per 100,000 population, down from 18.0 deaths per 100,000 in 2013. The age-adjusted death rate for the two diseases fell by 5% from 2013 to 2014 (15.9 vs 15.1 deaths per 100,000 standard population).

For the first quarter of 2015, the provisional crude death rate for the two diseases was 27.2 deaths per 100,000 population, up from the death rate of 23.8 in the first quarter of 2014. The increase remained after the researchers adjusted for age (23.3 and 20.9 deaths per 100,000 standard population, respectively).

HIV Disease

The provisional crude death rate from HIV disease fell from 2.2 deaths per 100,000 population in 2013 to 2.1 deaths per 100,000 population in 2014.

After adjustment for age, the death rate fell by 5% from 2013 to 2014 (2.1 vs 2.0 deaths per 100,000 standard population).

For the first quarter of 2015, the provisional crude death rate for HIV disease was similar to that in the first quarter of 2014 (2.2 deaths per 100,000 population vs 2.3, respectively). The first quarter death rate was slightly lower in 2015 than in 2014 (2.0 vs 2.2 deaths per 100,000 standard population) after adjustment for age.

Falls Among Those Aged 65 and Older

The provisional crude death rate from falls among persons aged 65 and older increased from 57.0 deaths per 100,000 population in 2013 to 58.2 deaths per 100,000 population in 2014. After adjustment for age, the death rate rose by 3% from 2013 to 2014 (56.7 vs 58.4 per 100,000 standard population).

The provisional crude death rate from falls was similar for the first quarter of 2015 (60.4 deaths per 100,000 population) compared with the first quarter of 2014 (59.7). After adjustment for age, the rates remained similar (61.1 vs 59.8 deaths per 100,000 standard population).

Heart Disease

The provisional crude death rate from heart disease fell from 193.3 per 100,000 population in 2013 to 192.7 deaths per 100,000 population in 2014. After adjustment for age, the death rate decreased by 2% from 2013 to 2014 (169.8 vs 166.6 per 100,000 standard population).

The provisional crude death rate from heart disease was 215.5 deaths per 100,000 population for the first quarter of 2015, an increase from 207.8 in the first quarter of 2014. After adjustment for age, the death rate increased by 2%, from 180.9 per 100,000 standard population to 184.5 per 100,000 population in the first quarter of 2015.

Stroke

The provisional crude death rate from stroke increased from 40.8 deaths per 100,000 population in 2013 to 41.7 deaths per 100,000 population in 2014. After adjustment for age, the 2014 death rate was similar to the 2013 death rate (36.3 vs 36.2 per 100,000 standard population).

The provisional crude death rate from stroke was 47.1 deaths per 100,000 population in the first quarter of 2015, an increase from 43.6 deaths per 100,000 in the first quarter of 2014. After adjustment for age, the death rate rose for the first quarter by 6% from 2014 to 2015 (38.3 vs 40.6 deaths per 100,000 standard population).

Alzheimer's Disease

For 2014, the provisional crude death rate from Alzheimer's disease increased to 29.4 deaths per 100,000 population, from the death rate of 26.8 in 2013. After adjustment for age, the death rate rose by 8%, from 23.5 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2013 to 25.4 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2014.

For the first quarter of 2015, the provisional crude death rate from Alzheimer's disease increased to 38.9 deaths per 100,000 population from 30.1 deaths per 100,000 population in the first quarter of 2014. After adjustment for age, the death rate remained higher in the first quarter of 2015 than in the first quarter of 2014 (33.3 vs 26.2 deaths per 100,000 standard population).

Diabetes

For 2014, the provisional crude death rate from diabetes was similar to the death rate in 2013 (24.0 deaths per 100,000 population vs 23.9). After adjustment for age, the death rate fell slightly by 1% from 2013 to 2014 (21.2 vs 20.9 deaths per standard population).

The provisional crude death rate from diabetes increased from 26.2 deaths per 100,000 population in the first quarter of 2014 to 27.2 deaths per 100,000 population in the first quarter of 2015. After adjustment for age, the death rate remained slightly higher in the first quarter of 2015 than in the first quarter of 2014 (23.5 vs 23.0 deaths per 100,000 standard population).

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

NCHS. Vital Statistics Rapid Release Quarterly Provisional Estimates (2014 – Quarter 1, 2015). Published online July 18, 2015. Full text

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