FRIDAY, Jan. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Holocaust survivors in Israel have higher rates of comorbidities but lower mortality compared with a control population, according to a study published online Jan. 4 in JAMA Network Open.

Naama Fund, from Maccabi Healthcare Services in Tel Aviv, Israel, and colleagues examined the overall mortality rate and comorbidities among 38,597 Holocaust survivors born between 1911 and 1945 in Europe and 34,931 controls born in Israel during the same years.

The researchers found that compared with controls, Holocaust survivors had higher rates of reported hypertension (83.0 versus 66.7 percent), obesity (33.3 versus 26.5 percent), chronic kidney disease (30.9 versus 19.8 percent) cancer (29.5 versus 27.8 percent), dementia (16.6 versus 9.6 percent), ischemic heart disease or nonmyocardial infarction (14.8 versus 11.8 percent), myocardial infarction (9.4 versus 7.8 percent), and osteoporotic fractures among women (28.4 versus 22.1 percent). Compared with the control group, Holocaust survivors had lower overall mortality rates (25.3 versus 41.1 percent). The mean age of death was significantly higher in the survivor group than the control group after adjustment for confounders.

“Our study found higher rates of comorbidities and lower mortality among Holocaust survivors, which may be associated with improved health literacy and unique resilience characteristics among Holocaust survivors,” the authors write.

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