Life Expectancy Is Declining in the U.S. and It’s Not as Insignificant as You Might Think

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The CDC is reporting a decrease in life expectancy from 78.7 to 78.6 years, which might not seem like much until you realize it’s part of a continuing trend. That makes it much more alarming. We are making so much progress defeating killers like cancer, heart disease, and stroke…so why are we dying younger?

Well, the CDC is obviously concerned and investigating, and they’ve identified the major reasons Americans are dying younger than they have in decades.

While we’ve been gaining ground against those traditional diseases, we’ve been losing traction in three areas since 2014 – suicide, drug overdoses, and liver disease (attached to alcoholism).

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Bottom line? More and more Americans are essentially killing themselves, causing a decline in life expectancy like we haven’t seen since WWI and the Spanish flu outbreak. This is from the report:

“Increased death rates for unintentional drug overdoses in particular – a subset of unintentional injuries – contributed to the negative change in life expectancy observed in recent years.”

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The results also show that the new epidemics aren’t affecting everyone equally – men are  more affected than women, and where people live also plays a significant factor. People who reside in Hawaii live on average 6.6 years longer than the rest of the U.S., while those who live in Mississippi live the shortest number of years.

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Economics also play into treating problems that lead to suicide, liver disease, and drug overdose, so addressing the downturn won’t be simple. What seems to be clear is that what we’re doing right now to cope isn’t working for everyone – or even most people.

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It’s compelling evidence that Americans, though we may live in one of the most stable, affluent countries in the world, certainly aren’t the happiest. And it’s killing us.