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Received by email
Posted on behalf of the sender Nov 19 2001


Dear Mr. Carnicom,

Here are some answers to the questions you posted on your web page:

1. Why is one of the 5 leading causes of death now “Chronic lower respiratory disease?”

In short, this is a reflection of Americas aging population, fewer deaths from infectious disease, decreased traffic fatalities, improved treatment or coronary diseases, and the fact that there are/were many active smokers. In the US, more than 80% of COPD or chronic lower respiratory disease is attributible to smoking. The remainder are the result of infectious agents, occupational exposures (silicosis, asbestosis etc), genetics and idiopathic disease (cause unknown.). In third world contries where heating and cooking is done by biomass fuels the rate of disease is very high; estimates of up to 400,000 deaths/year may be attributed to this cause. The common name for the disease is “Hut lung”.

2. Why was the former leading death category “Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and allied conditions” changed for the 1999 data to now read “Chronic lower respiratory disease?”

This change is simply the result of the 10th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. The ICD is an international standard for disease reporting. By establishing common disease criteria across nations, world-wide trends can be better interpreted. COPD was actually more restrictive than the new category which includes the following conditions:

J40 Bronchitis, not specified as acute or chronic
J41 Simple and mucopurulent chronic bronchitis
J42 Unspecified chronic bronchitis
J43 Emphysema
J44 Other chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
J45 Asthma
J46 Status asthmaticus
J47 Bronchiectasis

3. When is the data for the year 2000 to be released?

Preliminary data for the year 2000 can be found in this report:

4. Is the released data verified by independent sources?

The annual reports from NCHS are compiled from reports from local and state health departments, and state death certificate data. These reports are required by law at the sate and federal levels. Reports are edited and peer-reviewed by state, federal, university and other qualified public health professionals.

I hope you find this information helpful in your studies.

Best Regards,

The senders name will be withheld until permission is granted or a request for inclusion is made by the author.
No affiliation was included with this response.