June 1st, 2016: The long decline in Americans’ death rates has reversed course, according to preliminary 2015 numbers for all causes of mortality as compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many factors are implicated in the turnaround, including a rise in deaths from firearms, drug overdoses, accidental injuries, suicides, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension and stroke. In a report released Wednesday, the CDC looked at changes in death rates per 100,000 people between 2014 and 2015, adjusting the findings to reflect an aging population as the baby boomers head into their retirement years. The agency identified gains on the cancer front: The disease is killing Americans at a lower rate. But that medical progress was overtaken by the other factors. Lethal drug overdoses, for example, rose from 14.0 per 100,000 people in early 2014 to 15.2 by mid-2015. And even though heart disease was basically flat, that was a change from the major killer’s years-long decline — a decrease that had helped drive down the overall mortality rate. Whether the uptick in the death rate is a statistical fluke is unclear. The CDC will have final numbers in December, and one year does not make a trend. But the report echoes other recent research suggesting that these days the American way of life is too often leading to an early death.
Source/more: Washington Post