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A scary headline from the Health section Bloomberg Business.

What’s Killing White Women?

White women in the U.S. have historically enjoyed low mortality rates. But in recent years, the death rate for adult white women 15 to 54 years old has increased even as the rates for black and Hispanic women have declined, according to a new analysis from the Urban Institute.

Reading the Urban Institute document, their information seems a bit skewed. They note that cardiovascular disease has shown some increase, as has the generic category of Other Diseases, although they don’t quantify that. Accidental poisonings show the biggest increase, and they draw the conclusion that this is from pain killer use and abuse. Maybe, but my experience is different.

I hope you’ll pardon me why I delve into the anecdote as data world. While I saw some increase in theĀ  rate of overdoses during the period reported on in this study, I saw a much larger increase in the number of cardiac incident involving women. That was especially true among younger women, white or black.

I also saw an increase in the number of strokes and other neurological illnesses.

The American Heart Association has noticed the same thing and has issued many documents related to those trends.

Which brings me to a pet theory, but one that should be looked into if we as a society are serious about this issue.

Over the past 20 or so years, there have been major changes in the composition of the work force in this country. Women of all races and ethnic backgrounds are entering into career fields traditionally dominated by men. Law, medicine, law enforcement, and other traditionally male dominated fields now have a lot of women entering them.

With that demographic change, should it be a surprise that women are starting to see more illnesses that traditionally struck down men?

It’s not a surprise to me, if I were smarter, I’d have predicted it before hand.

The death rates for black women are declining in most areas, probably because minorities of all races have better access to preventative care than they have in the past. I would expect those rates to stabilize over the next several years.

As I said, that’s my pet theory. Make of it what you will.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.