Baltic countries' mortality rates considerably higher than European average

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Although the number of injury-related deaths in the Baltic countries has markedly dropped, mortality rates remain remarkably higher than in the rest of Europe, it appears from a newly-published survey of health care in the three countries that provides an overview of changes in 2004-2014, reported LETA Monday.

Women's average life expectancy in the Baltic states is 2-4 years shorter than the European Union average of 83.6 years. The average life expectancy rates of Lithuanian and Latvian men, respectively 69.2 years and 69.1 years, are the lowest in the EU, while the Estonian indicator, 72.4 years, is the sixth-lowest among the EU28.

Healthy life years form on average 77% of the total life span of men and 72% of that of women in the Baltic countries, which approximates the European average.

Baltic countries' mortality rates are significantly above the European average.

In Estonia, the overall standardized rates for men were 40% higher and in Latvia and Lithuania, 60% higher than in the EU. The death rates for women were 15 percent higher in Estonia and 30% higher in Latvia and Lithuania.

The two main causes of death are the same in the Baltic countries as in the EU - diseases of the circulatory system and cancer. The third leading cause of deaths in the Baltic countries is injuries while respiratory diseases rank third in Europe.

The number of injury-related deaths, which declined in the Baltic states markedly in 2004-2014, remains significantly higher than the European average among men. It is up to four times higher in Estonia and even seven times higher in Latvia, depending on the age group.

The number of new cases of tuberculosis per capita declined by half in Estonia and Lithuania and by a fourth in Latvia during the period. The number of new HIV cases more than halved in Estonia but rose by a fifth in the other two countries. Nonetheless, 30% more new HIV cases than in Latvia and four times as many as in Lithuania were registered in Estonia in 2014.

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