Is it an anomaly or the beginning of a trend? Health experts aren’t sure. What they do know is a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows the U.S. death rate went up last year for the first time in a decade.
The American death rate increased for the first time in 10 years in 2015, ticking up from 723.2 deaths per 100,000 people to 729.5.
The last time the death rate increased was in 2005, amid a brutal flu season. The data from the National Center for Health Statistics surprised experts, the New York Times reports, as it is rare to see a national increase. Preliminary analysis indicates that heightened rates of Alzheimer’s, suicide and drug overdoses could have driven the increase, as well as a relatively flat rate of heart disease (which has declined every year since 1993).
The New York Times quoted Robert Anderson, the chief of mortality statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, who said, “It’s an uptick in mortality and that doesn’t usually happen, so it’s significant. But the question is, what does it mean? We really need more data to know. If we start looking at 2016 and we see another rise, we’ll be a lot more concerned.”
According to a story in U.S. News and World Report:
Other research published in recent months had shown a rise in mortality among middle-aged whites because of drug overdose, suicide and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. The most recent figures show that these causes likely contributed to the rising death rate as well, though the data wasn’t broken down by race or other demographic factors.
Recent stories show us that drug overdoses and suicides are both growing health problems here in Arizona. So this isn’t just a national issue. What do you think we can do to turn those numbers around? And do you think the rising death rate is a one year blip or something more serious? Join the conversation and help us find new ways to battle today’s most pressing health challenges. Working together to find solutions is another step toward our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!