LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A report released Monday shows that Los Angeles County has outpaced the rest of the country in reducing its mortality rate over the past decade.

The death rate in Los Angeles County declined 19 percent from 2001 to 2010, compared to 13 percent nationwide, according to the report, “Mortality in Los Angeles County 2010: Leading causes of death and premature death with trends for 2001-2010.”

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“We’re making great progress against several leading causes of death in the county,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county’s director of public health. “Notable over this 10-year period was a 37 percent drop in coronary heart disease and a 35 percent decline in the stroke death rate.”

According to the report, deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease increased sharply, more than doubling from 905 in 2001 to 2,242 in 2010 and ranking No. 5 in the leading causes of death.

“As the baby boomer generation ages, the burden of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase significantly,” Fielding said. “More effective treatments are needed, as are programs that support both patients and caregivers.”

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HIV/AIDS-related deaths declined 50 percent and deaths due to pneumonia/influenza fell 31 percent, according to the study. Deaths from emphysema and other chronic lung diseases were also found to have gone down 17 percent, and diabetes-related deaths went down 13 percent.

The overall death rate in 2010 was 615 deaths per every 100,000 residents, 17.7 percent lower than the national average of 747 deaths per every 100,000 Americans.

Death rates among black males were the highest for most of the leading causes of death.

The leading causes of premature deaths — death before age 75 — were coronary heart disease, homicide, suicide, motor vehicle accidents and liver disease.

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