U.S. life expectancy drops for first time in 22 years

U.S. life expectancy drops for first time in 22 years

How long do you expect to live? A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the life expectancy for Americans across demographics has fallen for the first time since 1993.

Adults can now expect to live an average of 78.8 years which is a decrease of .01 — or one month— from 2014. The report revealed men still have a shorter lifespan than women — 76.3 years vs. 81.2 years — but both group’s life expectancies have dropped since the last CDC report.

This decrease in life expectancy is rare, says Firas Dabbous, MS, PhD, a manager of patient centered outcomes research at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital’s Russell Institute for Research & Innovation in Park Ridge, Ill.

“This is unusual, as this dip is not consistent with prior years, however, it may be due to statistical or random noise,” Dabbous says. “This minimal dip in life expectancy is not something the population should be concerned about unless the dip continues into the future.”

The report revealed the ten leading causes of death remained the same from the 2014 report. However, age-adjusted death rates for the population increased for eight of the ten top causes of death. Those include heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza, pneumonia and kidney disease.

“On the bright side, there is a significant drop in cancer mortality which can be attributed to advancement in early detection, treatment and management,” Dabbous emphasizes.

The top three killers in the study included heart disease (168.5 deaths per 100,000), cancer (158.5 deaths per 100,000), and chronic lower respiratory diseases (41.6 deaths per 100,000). Dabbous stresses that the main risk factors for these diseases include lifestyle factors such as smoking, dietary habits, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise as well as high consumption of alcohol. Avoiding these habits may decrease the likelihood of you falling ill to one of these top killers.

Do you know if you are at risk for — the number one killer of Americans — heart disease? Take Advocate Heart Institute’s heart risk assessment here. If you are high risk, see an Advocate cardiologist within 24 hours. 

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About the Author

Marrison Worthington
Marrison Worthington

Marrison Worthington, health enews contributor, is a public affairs manager for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of Illinois State University and has several years of global corporate communications experience under her belt. Marrison loves spending her free time traveling, reading organizational development blogs, trying new cooking recipes, and playing with her golden retriever, Ari.