CDC finds deaths from heart disease and diabetes climbed amid Covid in U.S.

ABC News:

Data released this week by federal health authorities shows biggest increases in the death rates for heart disease and diabetes in at least 20 years.

Some experts believe a larger reason is that many patients did not seek treatment in an emergency because they feared becoming infected with the virus.

The U.S. saw remarkable increases in the death rates for heart disease, diabetes and some other common killers in 2020, and experts believe a big reason may be that many people with dangerous symptoms made the lethal mistake of staying away from the hospital for fear of catching the coronavirus.

The death rates — posted online this week by federal health authorities — add to the growing body of evidence that the number of lives lost directly or indirectly to the coronavirus in the U.S. is far greater than the officially reported Covid-19 death toll of nearly 600,000 in 2020-21.

For months now, researchers have known that 2020 was the deadliest year in U.S. history, primarily because of Covid-19. But the data released this week showed the biggest increases in the death rates for heart disease and diabetes in at least 20 years.

“I would probably use the word `alarming,’” said Dr. Tannaz Moin, a diabetes expert at UCLA, said of the trends.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 3.4 million Americans died in 2020, an all-time record. Of those deaths, more than 345,000 were directly attributed to Covid-19. The CDC also provided the numbers of deaths for some of the leading causes of mortality, including the nation’s top two killers, heart disease and cancer.

But the data released this week contains the death rates — that is, fatalities relative to the population — which is considered a better way to see the impact from year to year, since the population fluctuates.

Of the causes of death for which the CDC had full-year provisional data, nine registered increases. Those included Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, chronic liver disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

Many didn’t seek treatment

The CDC offered only the statistics, not explanations. The agency also did not say how many of the fatalities were people who had been infected with — and weakened by — the coronavirus but whose deaths were attributed primarily to heart disease, diabetes or other conditions.

Some experts believe a larger reason is that many patients did not seek treatment in an emergency because they feared becoming infected with the virus.

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