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Death rates among 45-54 year old white Americans with only high school increases
Old 11-03-2015, 05:38 PM   #1
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Death rates among 45-54 year old white Americans with only high school increases

https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...2a7_story.html Main reasons for increase thought to be legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and liver disease.

Something similar happened among Russian men when the USSR was imploding. The current US issue seems to occur in both sexes.

Ha
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Old 11-03-2015, 07:32 PM   #2
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Interesting article, thanks for the link. Anecdotally, I worked the last few years of my career in hospice and was shocked at the number of people in their late 30's and 40's coming in to the hospital with end stage liver disease due to alcoholism. Their families often had no idea, and somehow these people had been high functioning up until the point they ended up hospitalized. Lots of very sad stories.
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Old 11-03-2015, 07:41 PM   #3
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Interesting. Maybe we have more in common with whatever demons drove the evil empire than we care to contemplate.
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Old 11-03-2015, 07:52 PM   #4
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Caught a bit of the story on NPR: In Reversal, Death Rates Rise For Middle-Aged Whites : Shots - Health News : NPR

Interestingly they suggest that it's affecting whites (instead of other minorities) because the economic downturn is hitting them psychologically (midlife crises / not meeting expectations) whereas other minorities never expected to be doing well anyway.

Quote:
"One possible explanation is that for whites their parents had done better economically and they had been doing pretty well. Then all of a sudden the financial floor dropped out from underneath them," says Jon Skinner, a professor of economic and medicine at Dartmouth College who co-authored a commentary accompanying the article. "For African-American and Hispanic households things had never been that optimistic and so perhaps the shock wasn't quite as great."
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:51 AM   #5
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I read the article also. I was actually really shocked by the graph showing the increase in death rates among this group. And, surprised to see that is was basically attributed to suicide, drugs and alcohol related causes.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:48 AM   #6
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A doctor who's blog I follow had some interesting things to say about this study including:
"This is bad. I talk often with emergency room doctors. They have been telling me this stuff for years. ďJohn, the drug problem is different now. No one is immune. Itís everyone, mostly poor white guys in the suburbs.Ē We should not make a rookie mistake here. There are many who will see the opioids or the booze as the problem. Get rid of pain pills and heroin, restrict alcohol, and the problem gets better. That thinking would be a grave mistake. Itís like treating a symptom (fever) rather than the disease (bacteria).

The disease here is despair. Iíve been to these towns in rural Kentucky and Indiana. You can feel it. You can see the utter loss of hope. You can go to the outlet mall off the highway and see bright shiny people in bright shiny SUVs, and then ride 5K into the county, and see the despair.
We need policies that decrease despair, improve opportunity and foster families. If our focus remains only on pain pills, heroin and other drugs, the disease will continue to run amok. Itís like the obesity problem.

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Old 11-04-2015, 07:02 AM   #7
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There is a small percentage of that age group of men down here in Texas - but cause of death is sometimes preceded by the last words of the deceased...
"Hey y'all watch this"
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:21 AM   #8
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One disturbing aspect of this finding is that the rise in the death rate is almost exclusively found in white males with a high school diploma or less. According to the National Academy of Science:


Quote:
Midlife increases in suicides and drug poisonings have been previously noted. However, that these upward trends were persistent and large enough to drive up all-cause midlife mortality has, to our knowledge, been overlooked. If the white mortality rate for ages 45−54 had held at their 1998 value, 96,000 deaths would have been avoided from 1999Ė2013, 7,000 in 2013 alone. If it had continued to decline at its previous (1979‒1998) rate, half a million deaths would have been avoided in the period 1999‒2013, comparable to lives lost in the US AIDS epidemic through mid-2015. Concurrent declines in self-reported health, mental health, and ability to work, increased reports of pain, and deteriorating measures of liver function all point to increasing midlife distress.
I wonder how many of the drug overdoses were suicides, vs. accidental. Also, the significant increase in cirrhosis is another indication that this is all basically due to despair.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:24 AM   #9
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Is the dynamic any different that what has been affecting communities of color and native American populations for decades?
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...2a7_story.html Main reasons for increase thought to be legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and liver disease.

Something similar happened among Russian men when the USSR was imploding. The current US issue seems to occur in both sexes.

Ha
I find it odd that the decline started happening in 1999. From 1999 thru 2006/2007 there was very high employment and the economy was much stronger than now.

Well, I guess the economy in the 90s was stronger than in the 2000s.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:43 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
Is the dynamic any different that what has been affecting communities of color and native American populations for decades?
Difference is that death rates in those groups are still falling.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:16 AM   #12
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Difference is that death rates in those groups are still falling.
I wonder what the death rates are relative to each other, i.e. have minority death rates been high for a long time, while the subject groups death rates have been lower but are now rising.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:36 AM   #13
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Wow. This is quite shocking.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:15 AM   #14
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One thing that wasn't clear to me in the article was whether this group includes those who have some college, but don't have a Bachelor's degree.

The article says early on:

Quote:
The mortality rate for white men and women ages 45-54 with less than a college education increased markedly between 1999 and 2013, most likely because of problems with legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and suicide, the researchers concluded. Before then, death rates for that group dropped steadily, and at a faster pace.
What does college education mean? At a later point it refers to high school graduates and high school dropouts. The latter implies people who have no education beyond high school at all. The former is a little less clear. If someone went to community college and got a certificate or an associates degree do they fall into this group? What about the person who went to a university, but didn't complete a degree? Do they fall into this group?
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:37 AM   #15
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Wow. This is quite shocking.
I think I am in the minority in thinking that is isn't very shocking at all. The media is all over the plight of minorities, you just don't HEAR about the drugged out, alcoholic "white guy". I have personally known a LOT more white guys (and gals) with alcohol and drug issues than any other demographic. Being involved in the juvenile court system in Georgia and Texas (as a volunteer, not being in trouble!) I have seen first hand that there are just as many white kids with significant issues with drugged out parents as there are black and/or Hispanic kids.

Take a ride out to the country and talk to a sheriff or deputy. Ask them about the prevalence of meth.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
One thing that wasn't clear to me in the article was whether this group includes those who have some college, but don't have a Bachelor's degree.

The article says early on:



What does college education mean? At a later point it refers to high school graduates and high school dropouts. The latter implies people who have no education beyond high school at all. The former is a little less clear. If someone went to community college and got a certificate or an associates degree do they fall into this group? What about the person who went to a university, but didn't complete a degree? Do they fall into this group?
Good point! According to https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40 ,
Quote:
The 2013 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor's degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2007 was 59 percent. That is, 59 percent of first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor's degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2007 completed the degree at that institution by 2013.
And that doesn't even include the community college folks. I was surprised; 59% does not seem like a very high percentage.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:52 PM   #17
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Small towns across the country are all but boarded-up meth labs...

To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, "These jobs are going boys, and they ain't coming back".
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:42 PM   #18
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I think I am in the minority in thinking that is isn't very shocking at all. The media is all over the plight of minorities, you just don't HEAR about the drugged out, alcoholic "white guy". I have personally known a LOT more white guys (and gals) with alcohol and drug issues than any other demographic. Being involved in the juvenile court system in Georgia and Texas (as a volunteer, not being in trouble!) I have seen first hand that there are just as many white kids with significant issues with drugged out parents as there are black and/or Hispanic kids.

Take a ride out to the country and talk to a sheriff or deputy. Ask them about the prevalence of meth.
No, unfortunately I'm right with you, my nephew is a recovering addict. A few times a month he'll post something of fb, another former friend od'ed. These are mainly decent kids(OK adults) from decent homes that got tangled up in heroin, meth, pills or whatever crap someone suggested they try. This country is in the middle of an epidemic of od's. I hope and pray we figure out what we've been doing is not working, maybe it's time to try a different approach?
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:33 PM   #19
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I wonder what the death rates are relative to each other, i.e. have minority death rates been high for a long time, while the subject groups death rates have been lower but are now rising.
I don't know about death rate at that age group across demographic. BUT ... whites still outlive blacks and Native Americans when it comes to life expectancy. Latinos and Asian Americans outlive them all.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:46 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by FlyBoy5 View Post
I think I am in the minority in thinking that is isn't very shocking at all. The media is all over the plight of minorities, you just don't HEAR about the drugged out, alcoholic "white guy". I have personally known a LOT more white guys (and gals) with alcohol and drug issues than any other demographic. Being involved in the juvenile court system in Georgia and Texas (as a volunteer, not being in trouble!) I have seen first hand that there are just as many white kids with significant issues with drugged out parents as there are black and/or Hispanic kids.

Take a ride out to the country and talk to a sheriff or deputy. Ask them about the prevalence of meth.
I used to work in mining and surveying, and there are a lot of 'these guys' out there. Is it possible that when the average life expectancy was lower, this cause of death was not noticed as much, because everyone else wasn't living 20 years longer like they are now?
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