Syphilis, chronic hepatitis C among concerns in report presented to Stanly health board

Published 8:54 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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The Stanly County Consolidated Services Board (CSB) received a presentation from county health care professionals regarding health trends.

At the CSB board meeting Thursday, the county’s Health Education team of Wendy Growcock, Doshia Swaringen and Mikayla Williams presented the State of the County Health to board members.

Regarding substance misuse, Stanly’s rate of 31.8 per 100,000 people is down 21% and lower than the state’s rate of 39.8.

The county’s rate of using e-cigarettes, or vaping, has increased 18% for high school age students and 6.7% for middle schoolers.

In the presentation, Stanly’s rates of mortality causes went down between the years 2017 and 2021 in four areas: Alzheimer’s disease, motor vehicle fatalities, nephritis and related kidney diseases, and prostate cancer. Stanly is also lower in mortality rate compared to the state in breast cancer (15.4 per 100,000 population to the state’s 20.3) and prostate cancer (12.8 to 19.7).

The top five causes of death in Stanly residents per 100,000 population are heart disease (210.4), cancer in all forms (165.7), unintentional injuries (68.8), Alzheimer’s disease (54.9) and COVID (51.1).

Thursday’s presentation also noted the health disparities among various ethnicities, defined as “preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.” Disparities, the presentation noted, result from multiple factors, including “poverty, environmental threats, inadequate access to health care, individual and behavioral factors, and educational inequalities.”

According to numbers from the 2023 County Health Data Book, Black citizens in Stanly have disparities in heart disease, cancer, nephritis and cardiovascular disease. The presentation listed kidney disease as having a high disparity ratio between Black (56.1) and white residents (16.1.) The ratio means Stanly Black residents are 3.5 times more likely to die of kidney disease than whites.

The county’s infant mortality rates fell from 2017 to 2021, according to the presentation, from 2.27 per 1,000 live births to 1.15, “due to decreases in African-American mortality and increases in white infant mortality.”

Stanly’s infant mortality rate for the period was 8.2, a decrease from the previous year but more than the state rate of 6.9 per 1,000 live births. Post neo-natal deaths dropped to 3.8 along with teen pregnancy (26.0), defined as the person giving birth being less than 20 years old.

Regarding communicable diseases, Stanly decreased in chlamydia and gonorrhea (411.5 and 171.9 per 100,000, respectively) but increased in HIV (4.3), syphilis (8.5), hepatitis B (1.6) and chronic hepatitis C (69.4).

Suicidal ideation, or when an individual thinks about killing themself, increased in 2022 for four ages groups: Ages 10-14, 18-24, 45-64 and 65 and older. Self-inflicted injuries rose in 2022 for ages 65 and older.

Stanly’s overdose rate in 2022 was 35.0, lower than the state’s rate of 38.5, showing a 18.6% decrease since 2016. Overdoses reporting to the local emergency room went up 11.9% in 2023, but overall was down 27.8% since 2016.

Compared to similar counties, Stanly has the highest percentage of adults with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Stanly is at 38%, higher than Granville (35), Haywood (34), Lee (34), Pender (31) and the state rate (34).

Thirteen percent of Stanly’s population are food insecure, one percent higher than the state average.

The presentation concluded syphilis, HIV (although low numbers are considered with caution because of low numbers) and chronic hepatitis C are emerging issues.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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