More Adults taking using Cholesterol-Lowering Medicine

March 29, 2013

The man pictured here, was in the process of making some healthy food choices during his shopping adventure at a mobile produce market, which he would place into a yellow plastic basket he was carrying in his right hand.Each year, more than 2 million Americans suffer from acute cardiovascular events that account for approximately one-fourth of the total cost of inpatient hospital care.  Control of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL–C) has been shown to substantially reduce cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality.  It can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, or a combination of these approaches. A diet low in saturated fat is recognized as one of the most effective lifestyle changes to decrease high LDL–C. 

NCHS has released a report that evaluates the trends in high LDL–C, use of cholesterol-lowering medication, and low dietary saturated-fat intake from 1976–1980 through 2007–2010 among adults aged 40–74.

Key findings from the report:

  • The prevalence of high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or LDL–C, decreased from 59% to 27% from the late 1970s through 2007–2010.
  • The percentage of adults using cholesterol-lowering medication increased from 5% to 23% from the late 1980s through 2007–2010. 
  • The percentage of adults consuming a diet low in saturated fat increased from 25% to 41% from the late 1970s through 1988–1994.  
  • No significant changes in the percentage of adults consuming a diet low in saturated fat were observed from 1988–1994 through 2007–2010.

Use of cholesterol-lowering medications among adults aged 40–74 (age adjusted): United States, 1988–1994 to 2007–2010

Trends in Inpatient Hospital Deaths

March 27, 2013

NCHS has released a report that presented National Hospital Discharge Survey data from 2000 through 2010 on patients who died while being hospitalized.

In 2000, there were 2.4 million deaths in the United States, and in 2010 there were 2.5 million. In both years, about one-third of these deaths occurred in short-stay, general hospitals, despite research that found that most Americans prefer to die in their own homes.

The report found that the number of patients who died in the hospital in the years 2000–2010 decreased, as did the rate of hospitalizations ending in death, but there were still over 700,000 patients who died in the hospital in 2010. One-quarter of the patients who died in the hospital were aged 85 and over. Hospital death rates among inpatients declined overall from 2000 to 2010, but increased for septicemia deaths by 17%. Patients who died in the hospital had longer average hospital stays than all patients (7.9 days for those who died vs. 4.8 days for all patients).

Inpatient hospital deaths: United States, 2000–2010

Health Insurance Coverage

March 22, 2013

Today, NCHS has released a report on estimates of health insurance coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population based on data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), along with comparable estimates from the 1997–2011 NHIS. Data analyses for the January–September 2012 NHIS were based on 80,618 persons.

  • In the first 9 months of 2012, 45.3 million persons of all ages (14.7%) were uninsured at the time of interview, 57.5 million (18.6%) had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to interview, and 33.8 million (11.0%) had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview.
  • In the first 9 months of 2012, the percentage of children under age 18 who were uninsured at the time of interview was 6.6%.
  • Among adults aged 19–25, the percentage uninsured at the time of interview was 26.3% (7.9 million) in the first 9 months of 2012.
  • Among adults aged 19–25, 57% were covered by a private plan in the first 9 months of 2012.
  • In the first 9 months of 2012, 31% of persons under age 65 with private health insurance at the time of interview were enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), including 10.7% who were enrolled in a consumer-directed health plan. More than 50% of persons with a private plan obtained by means other than through employment were enrolled in an HDHP. An estimated 22% of persons with private health insurance were in a family with a flexible spending account for medical expenses.

Prevalence of Diagnosed Autism in Children

March 20, 2013

Nearly one million school-aged children in the U.S. have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new NCHS report released today. The report uses data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, which was based on reporting by parents of school-aged children (ages 6–17 years) in 2011–2012, and compared with earlier data from the NSCH in 2007. The survey was funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The increase from 2007 to 2011–2012 was evaluated using cohort analyses that examine the consistency in the 2007 and 2011–2012 estimates for children whose diagnoses could have been reported in both surveys.

ASD is a set of complex neurodevelopment disorders that include autistic disorder, Asperger disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Children who have ASD display mild to severe impairments in social interaction and communication along with restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviors, interests, and activities.

The report found that the prevalence of diagnosed ASD in 2011–2012 was estimated to be 2% for children aged 6–17. This prevalence estimate (1 in 50) is significantly higher than the estimate (1.16%, or 1 in 86) for children in that age group in 2007.  The magnitude of the increase was greatest for boys and for adolescents aged 14–17.  Cohort analyses revealed consistent estimates of both the prevalence of parent-reported ASD and autism severity ratings over time.  Children who were first diagnosed in or after 2008 accounted for much of the observed prevalence increase among school-aged children (those aged 6–17). School-aged children diagnosed in or after 2008 were more likely to have milder ASD and less likely to have severe ASD than those diagnosed in or before 2007.

Percentage of children aged 6–17 years with parent-reported autism spectrum disorder, by age group and sex: United States, 2007 and 2011–2012

Mortality from Alzheimer’s Disease

March 19, 2013

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia among older adults, affects parts of the brain that control thinking, remembering and making decisions. It can seriously impair a person’s ability to complete daily activities.  An estimated 5.4 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease, at a cost of $200 billion in health care expenses in 2012, including $140 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Health care costs related to the condition are expected to rise to 1.1 trillion dollars in 2050.  Elderly woman teaching her grandson how to peel a sweet potato.

According to a new NCHS report, in 2010 Alzheimer’s disease was the sixth leading cause of death for all Americans, accounting for a total of 83,494 deaths and contributing to the death of 26,488 additional Americans.  Mortality from the disease has also steadily increased during the last 30 years.  The report also found that women had a 30 percent higher risk of dying from the disease than men.

Key findings from the report:

• The age-adjusted death rate from Alzheimer’s disease increased by 39 percent from 2000 through 2010 in the United States.

• Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is the fifth leading cause among people aged 65 years and over. People aged 85 years and over have a 5.4 times greater risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease than people aged 75–84 years.

• The risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease is 26 percent higher among the non-Hispanic white population than among the non-Hispanic black population, whereas the Hispanic population has a 30 percent lower risk than the non-Hispanic white population.

• In 2010, among all states and the District of Columbia, 31 states showed death rates from Alzheimer’s disease that were above the national rate (25.1).

Percent change in age-adjusted death rates for selected causes of death: United States, 2000 and 2010

The Tides of March

March 18, 2013

March is National Kidney Month AND National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

This image depicts a female clinician using a stethoscope she’d placed upon a male patient’s back.

Data from the last National Hospital Discharge Survey shows there were 512,000 hospitalizations in 2010 for acute kidney failure (ICD-9-CM Code 584), and 143,000 for kidney infections (ICD-9-CM Code 590). Kidney stones (ICD-9-CM Code 592) brought 158,000 to the hospital. Kidney disease (nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis) was the eighth leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, with 50,476 deaths.

Cancer (malignant neoplasms) was the second leading cause of death in 2010, and there were 136,000 hospitalizations for colorectal cancer that year according to the last National Hospital Discharge Survey. Patients who had this cancer, but were hospitalized for another reason, are not included in this number. So the number could even be higher.

Since colonoscopies are performed as both outpatient and inpatient procedures, National Center for Health Statistics data on this colorectal cancer screening procedure is gleaned from a number of different surveys. In a hospital setting, colonoscopies were performed 444,000 times according to the 2010 National Hospital Discharge Survey. According to the National Health Interview Survey, 54.9 percent of adults, 50 to 75 years old, had colonoscopies in 2010.


March 5, 2013

Georgia ranks 6th among states in preterm births (13.2% of all births) and in low birthweight deliveries (9.4% of all births), and ranks 7th highest in the percentage of births to unmarried mothers (45.4% of all births).

The state also has the 7th highest mortality rate from kidney disease in the U.S. (21.3 deaths per 100,000 population) and the 8th highest mortality rate from stroke (46.3 deaths per 100,000). In addition, Georgia has higher mortality rates from firearms and homicide than the U.S. as a whole.

However, Georgia’s rates were lower from 2010 and 2011 in a number of areas: births to unmarried mothers, cesarean deliveries, preterm births, and low birthweight deliveries. The state also had lower mortality than the national rate for suicide and drug poisoning.