Causes of Death
Why is this important?
Leading causes of death impact community health by shortening potential lifespan. Additionally, this is important because of the severe and prolonged disability experienced by patients during the latter stages of disease.
What is the measure?
Causes of death in a population are collected by local and state health departments to monitor the health status profiles of counties in California.
How are we doing?
In contrast to California statistics, cancer is the most common cause of death in our county, followed by heart disease and blood vessel diseases of the brain, leading to heart attacks and strokes.20 The accompanying age-adjusted chart demonstrates the relative death rates for Tuolumne County residents compared to age-adjusted rates in California residents. When compared to a geographically and racially similar population, Tuolumne County cancer rates do not exceed the expected range of occurrence.21
Motor vehicle fatalities are addressed elsewhere in this report, but it should be noted that Tuolumne County’s excess "unintentional injuries" death rate is in large part explained by county motor vehicle fatalities, which are almost three times the average California rate.
Drug abuse issues are addressed under the Behavioral Health section. However, it is important to note that Tuolumne County drug overdose mortality is more than twice the statewide average, with toxicology reports indicating the most frequent involvement is of methamphetamine and opiates in these deaths.22