Douglas healthier than rest of Nevada |

Douglas healthier than rest of Nevada

Douglas County residents tend to be healthier than most Nevadans, according to figures released by the state.

East Fork Deputy Chief Dave Fogerson told members of the Douglas County Board of Health the county led the pack for healthy factors and came in second to Lincoln County for least number of premature deaths.

“For factors, we’re No. 1 in the state, but remember Nevada is at the back of the pack,” he said Monday. “There’s some good stuff here, but we’re the best in the least healthy state in the nation.”

Some of the factors considered in the rankings include life expectancy, which is 81.4 years, compared to the state average of 78.4 years.

Douglas County saw only 13 percent of driving deaths caused by alcohol, compared to 31 percent statewide.

Levels of disease were lower in Douglas than in other counties around the state, with reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases at 171.9 per 100,000 compared to the statewide 506.7. Flu immunizations run 45 percent in the county compared to 33 percent across the state, while mammogram screenings are running 43 percent compared to 33 percent.

Preventable hospital stays for the county are running 2,643 a year compared to 4,108 statewide.

Not every category was glowing for Douglas with 82 injury related deaths in the county, compared to 74 statewide, and 57 on average in the United States.

The ratio of patients to primary care providers is 1,780 compared to 1,760 in the state and 1,050 in the U.S.

Child and infant mortality in Douglas County both run higher than the state and national averages.

Fogerson said one of the negatives, the length of the average commute, could be considered a positive by many residents.

Douglas commuters travel 31 miles to work on average, versus 30 miles statewide and only 15 miles nationally.

One area of concern were the number of suicides in the county, which was up 19 percent over the five-year average.

According to Capt. Ron Michitarian, there were 15 suicides reported in 2018, which was down from 17 in 2017. Michitarian said that the average was 12.6 deaths from suicide.

“It strikes me, 63 suicides seems really high for the population,” Commissioner Barry Penzel said.

Dr. John Holman said he was not happy, but also not surprised by the numbers.

“We kind of think of suicide as a problem for younger people in their 20s and 30s,” Holman said. “The highest suicide rate are men and women in their 60s, 70s and 80s. It has to do with chronic illness and loneliness, those kind of things. Suicide is much more common as a person ages, and with our aging population, I’m not happy, but it isn’t surprising.”