Selected Health Indicators in North Dakota

Age Adjustment
Age adjusting is done to assure comparability of data. Disease and death rates are affected by age; age­adjusting accounts for different age distributions in the population. The rates in this report (apart from infant mortality and infectious disease rates) have been age­adjusted using the 1940 U.S. population as standard. Cancer death rates have been adjusted to the 1970 U.S. population.

Commonly called hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis includes a variety of conditions that cause artery walls to thicken and lose elasticity. The arteries carry blood from the heart to all parts of the body.

Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a measure of the force used to circulate blood through the body. When the blood pressure is high, the heart has to work harder. The increased pressure can damage vessels to vital organs such as the heart, the brain, and the kidneys. Systolic blood pressure is a measure of the force when the heart contracts; diastolic blood pressure is a measure of the force used to move blood when the heart is at rest between beats. Blood pressure is reported as the "systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure."

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a long­term increase in blood pressure above its normal range, currently defined by the National High Blood Pressure Education Program as systolic blood pressure at or above 140 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) or diastolic blood pressure at or above 90 mm Hg. It is also known as hypertension.

Cholesterol is a form of fat found in the blood stream. It is present only in foods from animal sources such as whole milk dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, animal fats, and egg yolks.

High Blood Cholesterol
High blood cholesterol is currently defined as a total blood cholesterol over 240 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter of blood) in adults and over 200 mg/dL in children. The border­line values are 200 to 240 mg/dL for adults and 170 to 200 mg/dL for children.

Health Indicators
Health indicators describe the condition or state of health of the population.

Health Outcomes
Health outcomes are used to examine the rate of death or illness (e.g., the number of lung cancer deaths per 100,000 people).

Mortality is a measure of deaths occurring in a given population, location, or other group of interest during an interval of time, usually a year.

Risk Factors
These factors are behavioral, genetic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors, that when present, increase the likelihood a person will experience disease or injury (e.g., the percentage of adults who smoke).

Years of Potential Life Lost
The number of years between the age at death and 65 years of age for individuals dying before age 65; that is, the total number of years which are "lost" by persons in the population who die prematurely of a stated cause. Age 65 is generally used as a "full, productive life span" because many people retire by this age.

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Last Updated: Thursday, May 23, 1996, 10:46:58 AM
Allen Johnson - ND Health Dept. DP Coordinator -