“We are only on the transition from the transition from heart disease to cancer as the main cause of death,” said Dr. Latha Palaniappan, senior author of the study and an internist, professor and clinical researcher at Stanford University Medical Center.
A decade of old theory described a shift that occurred in health patterns in the United States in the last century. Early in the 100 years, infectious diseases including tuberculosis, diphtheria and flu took more American lives than other diseases. But by the end of the century, chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer, had become the leading cause of death. The theory described these complex patterns and suggested that such changes derive from economic and social conditions.
New data indicate that the nation is experiencing a new transition, this time in the chronic disease category. In order to understand these changes, Stanford Medical School investigated more than 32 million death records across 3 1
43 US counties for 2003 to 2015. The research group not only looked at medical information but also on demographic data, including income and race.
During the 13th study period, mortality in the total population decreased by 12%, from about 823 deaths per every 100,000 people to about 724 deaths per 100,000.
In more than three quarters of all counties (79%), heart disease was the leading cause of death in 2003, but this was still true for only 59% of the counties in 2015.
However, cancer caused most deaths in about two of the 10 counties in 2003, with the same for four of the 10 counties in 2015.
While the overall heart disease lethal rate decreased by 28%, high income regions experienced a 30% decrease compared to a 22% fall in low income regions. Crime mortality also decreased, but less dramatic: It fell by 16%, with an 18% decrease in high income regions, compared with 11% in low income.
According to researchers, low-income regions may see a slower change in the cause of death due to socio-economic, geographical, demographic and other factors affecting health and death.
The researchers also compared changes in patterns for race and ethnic groups. Here, they found that cancer among Asian Americans, Hispanics and White, replaced heart disease as the main cause of death. However, a similar pattern was not seen among American Indians / Alaska native or black.
Economic factors also affect the new mortality pattern across the country. Heart disease exceeded other causes of death in low-income regions for all racial and ethnic groups in 2015, researchers found, but only Asian Americans, Hispanic and White in the highest income regions saw cancer exceed heart disease as the main cause of death in 2015.
Make improvements of cancer care available to all
The research “provides another lens” for interpreting dynamics related to the transition in mortality patterns, wrote Silvia Stringhini, researcher at Switzerland Lausanne University Hospital and Dr. Idris Guessous, a practicing physician and epidemiologist at Switzerland Geneva University Hospital, in an editorial published with the study.
“The driving force behind the transition from the age of” pest and starvation “to the age of” manmade diseases “is improvements in socio-economic conditions, such as living standards, health habits, hygiene and nutrition,” wrote Stringhini and Guessous.  Obesity, low BMI linked to increased risk of death, studies reveal “data-src-mini =” // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030132856-02-bmi-obesity-underweight-morbidity- risk-103018-restricted-small-169.jpg “data-src-xsmall =” // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030132856-02-bmi-obesity-underweight-morbidity-risk-103018-restricted -medium-plus-169.jpg “data-src-small =” http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030132856-02-bmi-obesity-underweight-morbidity-risk-103018-restricted- large-169.jpg “data-src-medium =” // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030132856-02-bmi-obesity-underweight-morbidity-risk-103018-restricted-exlarge-169.jpg “data-src-large =” // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030132856-02-bmi-obesity-underweight-morbidity-risk-103018-restricted-super-169.jpg “data-src- full16x9 = “// cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030132856-02-bmi-obesity-underweight-morbidity-risk-103018-restricted-full-169.jpg” data-src-mini1x1 = “// cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030132856-02-bmi-obes ity-underweight-morbidity-risk-103018-restricted-small-11.jpg “data-demand-load =” not-loaded “data-eq-pts =” mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781 “src =” data: image / poison; base64, R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP /////// wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAAAAAAAAIKII + py + 0Po5yUFQA7 “/>