Heart disease, stroke, diabetes and drug overdoses contribute to drop
Life expectancy declined for Americans last year, the first time in more than two decades, the Washington Post reports, saying that it’s linked to worsening health problems in the country.
The National Center for Health Statistics say that heart disease, stroke, diabetes and drug overdoses contributed to the lower life expectancy. In 2014, the average life expectancy for an American was 78.9 years, while in 2015, the life expectancy dipped to 78.8.
Deaths rose for white men, white women and black men.
The No. 1 killer in the United States right now is heart disease. Heart disease was responsible for 633,000 deaths in 2015, up from 614,000 the previous year. Cancer killed 595,000.
There is also an unexpected jump in mortality rates among white middle-aged Americans, the Washington Post said, saying the trend is because of overdoses, alcoholism and suicide.
Dead from suicide jumped from 42,773 to 44,193 from 2014 to 2015. Unintentional injuries – which includes overdoses from drugs, alcohol and chemicals as well as motor vehicle accidents and other accidents, climbed to 146,000 in 2015 from 136,000 in 2014.
The last time a drop happened was in 1993 when the average life expectancy dropped from 75.6 to 75.4. In 2015 the overall death rate rose 1.2 percent as 2.7 million people in the country died, with about 45 percent of those deaths coming from heart disease and cancer.
The National Center for Health Statistics said that there was a drop in the death rate of cancer, citing fewer people smoking, early cancer detection and new treatments.
The center also cautioned people from reading too much into the results from just a single year, saying trends could reverse themselves next year.