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Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Rising GDP and greater equality. All signs point to progress. But recent studies show that when it comes to life expectancy, we are moving backward.
For the first time since the early s, life expectancy in the United States declined for the second year in a row, according to a CDC report from December These health advances make the lifespan decline in the United States all the more surprising and leave one asking why?
The United States has not seen two years of declining life expectancy since and when influenza caused an inordinate number of deaths.
Inthere was a one-year drop during the worst of the AIDS epidemic. Back in the s, our life expectancy compared much more favorably with other countries but over time, life expectancy in many other countries gradually rose higher than that of the U.
The decline is clearly not linked to health care spending as the US has some of the highest expenditures. This dramatic trend over the past few years is largely attributed to a staggering 21 percent rise in the death rate from drug overdoses reflected in the sharp rise in the death rate among younger Americans.
The death rate of people between the ages of 25 and 34 increased by 10 percent between andwhile the death rate continued to decrease for people over the age of The full gravity of the opioid crisis is being felt all across the country, as drug overdoses rapidly increase and communities are left reeling.
Inmore than 63, Americans died of drug overdoses, or 21 percent more than in according to another CDC report released in December.
Evidence suggests that studies could be underestimating opioid deaths by 20 percent or more, as reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
In addition to higher numbers of opioid-related deaths, deaths from eight of the top ten leading causes of death in the U. The mortality rate from stroke and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in the United States, increased in after steadily decreasing in recent years.
Scientists, physicians, experts and medical professionals realize these non-communicable diseases need to be addressed. In addition, the medical community must improve access and quality of care to create a healthier society.
Income inequality, nutritional differences and lingering unemployment are also all major influences on the lifespan decline in the United States, experts say.
Moving toward a longer and stronger American life will require rethinking patient care within this country. Check in next week to read my insight on the way forward.Since , life expectancy at birth for men has increased by 6 years in the U.S.
and 9 years in comparable countries. Women in the U.S. have seen slower improvement, gaining 4 years of life expectancy at birth since , compared to 7 years in comparable countries on average. country comparison:: life expectancy at birth Life expectancy at birth compares the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if .
Figures to divide the comparison of the experience of men and women in the United States and of men and women in the other 21 countries into two stages of the life course, showing the probability of survival up to age 50 (see Figures and ) and life expectancy beyond age 50 (see Figures and ).
The divergence of experience.
A recent study concluded that smoking explained two fifths of the difference in male life expectancy between the US and other high-income countries, and over three quarters of the difference in female life expectancy(65, 79). American life expectancy has consistently lagged behind that of other developed nations.
But the gap is projected to grow even more by , according to a new study published in the Lancet. Methodology. Life expectancy equals the average number of years a person born in a given country is expected to live if mortality rates .