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Life Expectancy Edges Upward- So Does Alzheimer’s

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, June 12, 2008 10:24 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Alzheimer's Disease, Life Expectancy, Aging, Diabetes, Flu, Influenza

Death rates from diseases are in decline increasing the average life span to just over 78 years in the U.S. according to the CDC.

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 IMAGE SOURCE: ©iStockphoto/ grandpa and child/ author: naphtalina

 

There is good news and bad news about life expectancy coming from U.S. health researchers.

The life expectancy for a child born in the U.S. in 2006 is now an average of 78.1 years, the highest it has ever been. Technically that’s 81 years for women and 75 years for men.

The other good news is that the death rate fell in 2006 to 776.4 deaths per 100,000 from 799 per 100,000 in 2005. That is 22,117 fewer deaths than the year before and it's considered unusual because the older population is growing.  

Also notable is that eight out of ten of the most deadly diseases declined in 2006 when compared to the previous year. 

The biggest success story is the flu (influenza).  Flu and pneumonia deaths dropped by 13 percent from 2005. The other deadly disease rates that dropped are stroke, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, suicide, and cancer, among others.  

Altogether 2.4 million Americans died in 2006, the year of the report.

The life expectancy increased for men and women as well as whites and blacks. However an increase in women smoking is closing the gap between men and women’s death rates.

What has risen and continues to rise are deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, which, because of a drop in deaths from diabetes, now surpasses it as the sixth-leading cause of death in Americans. Altzheimer’s killed an estimated 72,914 Americans in 2006.

Meanwhile, 30 other countries top the U.S. in longevity. The Japanese continue to be the oldest, outliving Americans at 83 years. The Swiss and Australians also top the list for the longest living. 

These statistics come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the National Vital Statistics System. Data was derived from more than 95 percent of death certificates collected in 2006. # 


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