Other Disorders

Many other diseases affect adults and take their toll in discontented and lost lives in the United States each year. Among these are viral hepatitis, meningococcal infection, syphilis, and tuberculosis; diseases of internal organs such as the liver (hepatitis), the gallbladder, the kidneys, the pancreas (diabetes), and the prostate gland; and blood diseases such as the anemias. Some disorders are more common in one sex than the other.

Improvements in prenatal care and delivery during this century have dramatically reduced the incidence of maternal mortality in the United States. The maternal mortality rate was 8.3 per 100,000 live births in 1994, but the rate was three times as high for black women as for white women. Furthermore, the group of 328 women in this country reported as dying of maternal causes in 1994 consisted only of those who died of complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium, and not of all deaths in pregnant women. Of the 328 deaths, 41 were attributed to "pregnancy with abortive outcome" and 267 to "direct obstetrical causes.'' The most common cause of maternal mortality during pregnancy was ectopic pregnancy, in which the fetus is in an abnormal position. The most common direct obstetrical causes were hemorrhage of pregnancy and childbirth and toxemia of pregnancy (Singh et al., 1996).

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