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CDC says life expectancy in the United States is reduced mainly due to drug overdose and suicide.



NEW YORK “Last year, suicides and drug overdoses led to deaths in the United States and led to a continuing reduction in the life expectancy of Americans.

Overall, in 2017 there were more than 2.8 million. Deaths in the United States, or almost 70,000 more than last year, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was the deadliest case in one year since the government began to count more than a century ago.

This increase reflects in part the growing and aging population of the country. But these are deaths in the younger age groups, especially middle-aged people, who have had the greatest impact on the calculations of life expectancy, experts say.

“These sobering statistics are a wake-up call that we lose too many Americans, too early and too often, in conditions that can be prevented,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC.

suicide mortality last year was the highest according to US state records, it has been at least 50 years old. There were more than 47,000 suicides, compared with just under 45,000 a year earlier.

Overall decline

For decades, life expectancy in the United States has been on the rise, and this has increased several months almost every year. Now he is going the other way: he fell in 2015, remained at the level of 2016 and declined again last year, according to CDC.

The nation is in the longest period of a generally declining life expectancy since the late 1910s, when World War I and the worst flu pandemic in modern history came together to kill about 1 million Americans. Life expectancy in 1918 was 39 years.

In addition, "we have never seen anything like it," said Robert Anderson, who controls the statistics on the death of the CDC.

In the top 10 causes of death in the country, cancer mortality decreased in 2017. Meanwhile, there were seven more people – suicide, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, influenza / pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory tract diseases and unintentional injuries.

The main factor is that mortality for heart disease – the number one killer of the country – stopped falling. In past years, a reduction in cardiovascular mortality was enough to offset the increase in some other types of mortality, but it was no longer there, Anderson said.

(Sometimes the CDC figures change. This week, CDC officials said they revised their estimate of life expectancy for 2016 after some additional data were received.)

What is driving?

CDC officials did not speculate about what was behind the decline in life expectancy, but Dr. William Dietz, an expert on disease prevention at George Washington University, sees a sense of hopelessness.

Financial struggle widening income gap and sharing policy they all challenge many Americans, he suggested. “I truly believe that people are becoming increasingly hopeless, and this leads to drug use, which could potentially lead to suicide,” he said.

Deaths from a drug overdose also continued to increase, surpassing 70,000 last year at the height of the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in US history. The mortality rate increased by 10 percent over the previous year, which is less than the 21 percent jump seen between 2016 and 2017.

This is not a reason to celebrate, said Dr. John Rowe, a professor of health and aging policy at Columbia University.

“He may be starting to slow down, but he hasn’t yet turned around,” said Roe. "I think it will take a few years."

Accidental drug overdoses account for more than a third of unintended deaths from injuries, and deliberate drug overdose is about one-tenth of suicides, said Dr. Holly Hedegaard, researcher for the CDC injury.

Other findings

The CDC figures are mainly based on the revision of death certificates in 2017. The life expectancy indicator is based on current mortality trends and other factors.

The agency also stated:

  • A child born last year in the United States is expected to live an average of 78 years and 7 months. An American born in 2015 or 2016 is expected to live about a month longer, and one was born in 2014 about two months longer.
  • The suicide rate was 14 deaths per 100,000 people. This is the highest since 1975.
  • The suicide rate due to drug overdose has decreased.
  • Mortality from influenza and pneumonia increased by about 6 percent. Influenza season 2017-2018 was one of the worst in more than a decade, and some of the deaths since the beginning of this season appeared in the new dates of death.
  • West Virginia was again the state with the highest death rates from drug overdose. The CDC did not release state regulations for suicide.
  • Mortality rates from heroin, methadone, and opioid painkillers were flat. But deaths from the potent painkiller fentanyl and its close opioid relatives continued to increase in 2017.

In reports released on Thursday, the CDC did not discuss deaths in 2017. But earlier in the CDC reports, there was an increase in the number of suicides with a pistol and strangulation or freezing.


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