Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Death rate for those 85+ increases 'significantly,' CDC says

Death rate for those 85+ increases 'significantly,' CDC says

Last year's record shows 732 deaths in every 100,000, a slight increase from 729 in 2016.

The decline is likely due in part to the continuing rise in drug overdose deaths, the CDC said. It continued in 2016 and now the numbers for 2017 have been tallied and appear to follow the same downward slope. Kentucky had a death rate of 37.2, which is above the national average. People between the ages of 15 and 24 experienced about 13 overdose deaths per 100,000, those between 55 and 64 experienced 28 per 100,000, and the 65 and older age group had about 7 deaths per 100,000. And a third report from the center found that those aged 65 or more years had the lowest rate of drug overdose deaths compared with other age groups.

The most striking trend in suicide deaths is their geographic distribution. In three reports issued Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out a series of statistics that revealed some troubling trend lines - including rapidly increasing rates of death from drug overdoses and suicide. It was the most deaths in a single year since the government began counting more than a century ago.

And the increase is being seen across the age and demographic spectrums.

"Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the nation's overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable", CDC director Robert Redfield said.

Using a database of death certificate information from all 50 states, a team of CDC researchers determined that the overall life expectancy for Americans declined from 78.7 years in 2016 to 78.6 years in 2017, driven by a 0.1-year reduction in men. There were more than 47,000 suicides, up from a little less than 45,000 the year before.

CDC director Robert R. Redfield lamented over the implications of his organization's report: "The latest CDC data show that the U.S. life expectancy has declined over the past few years".

The nation is in the longest period of decreasing life expectancy since the early 1900s, when World War I and influenza combined killed almost 1 million Americans. Life expectancy in 1918 was 39. These causes accounted for nearly three-fourths (74%) of all deaths in the United States in 2017.

Of the 10 leading causes of death, only the cancer rate fell in 2017, while increases were observed in suicide, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's flu/pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory diseases and unintentional injuries.

Heart disease remained the leading cause of death among Americans.

William Dietz is with George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He suggested that financial struggles, inequality and divisive politics are all depressing many Americans.

In 1900, the average person in the United States could expect to live just 47.3 years.

Then in 2015, there was a downturn-a small one, to 78.8 years.

Though deaths from overdoses of all types of opioids have increased since 1999, the change in mortality induced by synthetic opioids other than methadone, meaning products like fentanyl, has had the most alarming upswing. But the CDC noted a big jump in that segment of the population: The death rate was 4.2 in 1999 and has risen to 28.

"Maybe it's starting to slow down, but it hasn't turned around yet", Rowe said. "There are many different circumstances and factors that contribute to suicide".

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