The latest Dallas County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) reveals the leading causes of death in the county and highlights disparities in various parts of the community. Parkland Health, along with Dallas County Health and Human Services, presented the report’s findings to community health leaders and politicians in a meeting last week.
The CHNA, conducted once every three years, collects and analyzes data to provide a health profile of the county’s residents. The purpose of the report is to “advance the health of Dallas County residents by highlighting opportunities to improve public health indicators, address systemic issues, and respond to the health concerns raised by community members.”
The report analyzes mortality rates by race, ethnicity, and sex. It calculates the leading causes of death in the county, life expectancy differences by zip code, leading causes of morbidity, and more. The report also includes input from community members who completed surveys or participated in focus groups in 2022.
In Dallas County in 2020, heart disease was the leading cause of death, with 167 deaths per 100,000 population.
Heart disease is also the leading cause of death in the State of Texas, as well as nationwide.
“Although an estimated 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable, in the U.S. one person dies every 36 seconds of heart disease,” said officials in this new report.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, was identified as the most commonly associated risk factor with this disease. Nearly 50% of American citizens have the condition, but only 24% of these patients have it under control.
The estimated annual national cost to treat patients with hypertension is $131 billion higher than for those without the condition.
Cancer has remained the second-leading cause of death in Dallas County since 2000, with a mortality rate of 143 deaths per 100,000 population.
Lung cancer was the most prevalent type of cancer in both men and women. Officials claim that more deaths have been associated with lung cancer than prostate, colon, and breast cancer combined, with smoking being the most significant risk factor.
The third-leading cause of death in Dallas County in 2020 was listed as COVID-19, with a mortality rate of 97 per 100,000 population. As of July 2022, 6,575 persons — 58% of whom were female and 42% male — were reported to have died of COVID-19-related causes in the county.
The 25-34-year-old age group had the most COVID-associated deaths between 2019-2020, accounting for 21%. Adults 55-64 and 65+ had the lowest rate of COVID-related deaths, with each group accounting for 10% of the total.
The CHNA report showed a stark contrast in life expectancy in various areas of the county. Residents of the 75215 zip code had the lowest average life expectancy, at 68 years, while residents of zip code 75204 had the highest, at 90 years.
The report outlined demographic information on other leading chronic diseases affecting Dallas County residents, including obesity. Obesity is one of the leading health problems in the U.S. and is a risk factor for many other conditions, like heart disease, as often reported in The Dallas Express.