Did the 1918 influenza cause the twentieth century cardiovascular mortality epidemic in the United States?
- Author(s): Tate, Steven
- Namkung, Jamie J
- Noymer, Andrew
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://peerj.com/articles/2531.pdf
During most of the twentieth century, cardiovascular mortality increased in the United States while other causes of death declined. By 1958, the age-standardized death rate (ASDR) for cardiovascular causes for females was 1.84 times that for all other causes, combined (and, for males, 1.79×). Although contemporary observers believed that cardiovascular mortality would remain high, the late 1950s and early 1960s turned out to be the peak of a roughly 70-year epidemic. By 1988 for females (1986 for males), a spectacular decline had occurred, wherein the ASDR for cardiovascular causes was less than that for other causes combined. We discuss this phenomenon from a demographic point of view. We also test a hypothesis from the literature, that the 1918 influenza pandemic caused the cardiovascular mortality epidemic; we fail to find support.