Health

Report: 10 leading causes of death in LA County

In this file photo, Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery is shown on August 18, 2009 in Westwood Village, Calif.
In this file photo, Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery is shown on August 18, 2009 in Westwood Village, Calif.
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Los Angeles County's death rate has dropped 19 percent in a decade — greater than the national decline of 13 percent.

But county health department figures released Monday also contained more troubling statistics — including a continuing disparity along racial and ethnic lines.

Homicide was the leading cause of death for black and Hispanic men 15 to 44 years old, and black men had the highest overall death rate.

Homicide also ranked higher for black and Hispanic people in all premature deaths, which the report defined as dying before 75 years old. Behind coronary heart disease, homicide was the second leading cause of premature deaths for both groups. Homicide did not even appear in the top five for whites and Asian and Pacific Islanders.

Leading causes of premature death (before 75), by ethnicity:

Rank White Hispanic Black Asian/Pacific Islander County Total
#1 Coronary heart disease Coronary heart disease Coronary heart disease Coronary heart disease Coronary heart disease
#2 Suicide Homicide Homicide Suicide Homicide
#3 Drug overdose Motor vehicle crash Lung cancer Lung cancer Suicide
#4 Lung cancer Liver disease Stroke Stroke Motor vehicle crash
#5 Liver disease Suicide Motor vehicle crash Breast cancer Liver disease

Source: L.A. County Department of Public Health

Among causes of premature deaths overall, homicide remained in second place, followed by suicide, car crashes and liver disease.

Also, the mortality rate soared for Alzheimer's disease, reflecting an aging population.

In a more positive trend, the rate of coronary heart disease — the overall leading cause of death — dipped more than a third between 2001 and 2010. There also were double-digit death-rate declines for stroke, pneumonia and lung cancer and a 50-percent drop for HIV.

10 leading causes of death in L.A. County:

Rank Death Premature death (before 75)
#1 Coronary heart disease Coronary heart disease
#2 Stroke Homicide
#3 Lung cancer Suicide
#4 Emphysema/COPD Motor vehicle crash
#5 Alzheimer's disease Liver disease
#6 Pneumonia/influenza Drug overdose
#7 Diabetes Lung cancer
#8 Colorectal cancer Stroke
#9 Liver disease Breast cancer
#10 Breast cancer Diabetes

Source: L.A. County Department of Public Health

REPORT: Mortality rates in L.A. County