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U.S. Life Expectancy Drops Slightly: Deaths from stroke, infant mortality decline, federal report finds; increased deaths in 6 diseases, most prominently alzheimer's
 
 
  By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
 
CDC Report:
 
Life Expectancy Declines, Stroke Drops to 4th Leading Cause of Death
Preliminary 2008 death statistics also show infant mortality rate at all-time low. [PDF - 530 KB]
 
"From 2007 to 2008 age-adjusted death rates increased significantly for 6 of the 15 leading causes of death: Chronic lower respiratory diseases; Alzheimer's disease; Influenza and pneumonia; Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis; Intentional self-harm (suicide); and Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease. Life expectancy decreased by 0.1 year from 77.9 years in 2007 to 77.8 in 2008."
 
Causes of death
The 15 leading causes of death in 2008 were as follows:

1 Diseases of heart
2 Malignant neoplasms
3 Chronic lower respiratory diseases
4 Cerebrovascular diseases
5 Accidents (unintentional injuries)
6 Alzheimer's disease
7 Diabetes mellitus
8 Influenza and pneumonia
9 Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis
10 Septicemia
11 Intentional self-harm (suicide)
12 Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
13 Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease
14 Parkinson's disease
15 Assault (homicide)
 
THURSDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Life expectancy dipped slightly in the United States from 2007 to 2008, according to a new federal report.
 
Life expectancy for Americans in general declined by a little more than one month, from 77.9 to 77.8 years. For women, the average life expectancy dropped by a tenth of one year, to 80.3 years; for men it also dropped by the same amount, to 75.3 years.
 
For the first time in 50 years, stroke was not the third-leading cause of death; it was overtaken by chronic lower respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The age-adjusted death rates for stroke dropped 3.8 percent from 2007 to 2008, while rates for chronic lower respiratory diseases rose 7.8 percent, according to the report, released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
Broken down by race, life expectancy slipped 0.2 years for whites. Life expectancy for black women remained unchanged at 76.8 years in 2008, while life expectancy for black men hit a record high -- 70.2 years -- although they still live nearly eight fewer years, on average, than white men. The difference in life expectancy between the white and black populations was 4.6 years in 2008, a 0.2 year drop from 2007.
 
Heart disease and cancer, which are the two leading causes of death in the United States, still accounted for nearly half -- 48 percent -- of all deaths in 2008.
 
Death rates rose noticeably in 2008 from several other causes other than respiratory diseases -- Alzheimer's disease (up 7.5 percent), influenza and pneumonia (up 4.9 percent), hypertension, or high blood pressure (up 4.1 percent), suicide (up 2.7 percent), and kidney disease (up 2.1 percent).
 
On the positive front, infant mortality rates fell to an all-time low in 2008, declining to 6.59 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008, from 6.75 in 2007. Birth defects were the leading cause of infant mortality in 2008, followed by health problems connected with preterm birth and low birthweight. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was the third leading cause of infant death in the United States, according to the report.
 
Report author Arialdi Minino, a statistician at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics, Mortality Statistics Branch, called infant mortality "an important barometer of overall health standards and health services delivery."
 
"So it went from [6.75] to 6.59 infant deaths per 1,000 live births," he said. "It's pretty significant. The decrease was more substantial for the black population, where it went down 4.2 percent."
 
Minino said the report was not designed to uncover the reasons for changes in overall mortality rates. He said the rise in deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases should be taken with a grain of salt because the World Health Organization has changed its definition of the condition, which could account for some of the increase, he said.
 
Commenting on the report, Dr. William O'Neill, executive dean of clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that "the fact that stroke fell from the third-leading cause of death is great news. It really suggests that a lot of the public action campaigns led by the American Heart Association have borne fruit."
 
There also have been some dramatic advances in stroke therapy, he said, adding, "That may be translating into lower mortality rates."
 
Still, O'Neill thinks the drop in life expectancy could be the start of a trend. "It is alarming that this is the first time in the last 25 years that there has actually been a decline," he said.
 
The increase in life expectancy between 1960 and 2000 was remarkable and related to less smoking, better control of blood pressure and advances in heart disease management, O'Neill said.
 
"We have seen the most gains we will see with those measures, and now other risk factors are coming up to propel heart disease again," he said. "My biggest concern is that we have been seeing this looming epidemic of obesity, and obesity is going to start taking over -- obesity leading to diabetes, leading to heart disease, is going to start becoming more of a problem."
 
The report, titled: Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2008, was based on an initial analysis of approximately 99 percent of death certificates from around the country.
 
For more on U.S. death rates, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
SOURCES: Arialdi Minino, M.P.H., statistician, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics, Mortality Statistics Branch; William O'Neill, M.D., executive dean, clinical affairs, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Dec. 9, 2010, CDC report, Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2008
 
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CDC Press Release
Stroke Drops to Fourth Leading Cause of Death in 2008
 
Life expectancy declines slightly according to latest CDC deaths report

 
Stroke is now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, down from the third place ranking it has held for decades, according to preliminary 2008 death statistics released today by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. While deaths from stroke and several other chronic diseases are down, deaths due to chronic lower respiratory disease increased in 2008.
 
There were 133,750 deaths from stroke in 2008. Age-adjusted death rates from stroke declined 3.8 percent between 2007 and 2008. Meantime, there were 141,075 deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease and the death rate increased by 7.8 percent.
 
Some of the increase in deaths may be due to a modification made by the World Health Organization in the way deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases are classified and coded. The National Center for Health Statistics will conduct a thorough analysis on this change and its effect on the chronic lower respiratory disease category before the final 2008 deaths data are released. "Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2008," also finds that life expectancy at birth dropped slightly to 77.8 years from 77.9 years in 2007. Life expectancy was down by one-tenth of a year (a little over a month) for both men and women. However, black males had a record high life expectancy in 2008 of 70.2 years up from 70 years in 2007. The life expectancy gap between the white and black populations was 4.6 years in 2008, a decrease of two-tenths of a year from 2007. The data are based on 99 percent of death certificates reported to NCHS through the National Vital Statistics System from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
 
Other findings:
· Heart disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death, still accounted for nearly half (48 percent) of all deaths in 2008.
 
· In addition to stroke, mortality rates declined significantly for five of the other 15 leading causes of death: accidents/unintentional injuries (3.5 percent), homicide (3.3 percent), diabetes (3.1 percent), heart disease (2.2 percent), and cancer (1.6 percent).
 
· In addition to chronic lower respiratory disease, death rates increased significantly in 2008 for Alzheimer's disease (7.5 percent), influenza and pneumonia (4.9 percent), high blood pressure (4.1 percent), suicide (2.7 percent), and kidney disease (2.1 percent).
 
· The preliminary infant mortality rate for 2008 was 6.59 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a 2.4 percent decline from the 2007 rate of 6.77 and an all-time record low. Birth defects were the leading cause of infant death in 2008, followed by disorders related to preterm birth and low birth weight. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was the third leading cause of infant death in the United States.
 
· Overall, there were 2,473,018 deaths in the United States in 2008, according to the preliminary deaths report 49,306 more deaths than the 2007 total.
 
· The age-adjusted death rate for the U.S. population fell to 758.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2008 compared to the 2007 rate of 760.2.
 
Deaths and Mortality
(Data are for the U.S.)

 
· Number of deaths: 2,423,712
· Death rate: 803.6 deaths per 100,000 population
· Life expectancy: 77.9 years
· Infant Mortality rate: 6.75 deaths per 1,000 live births
 
Number of deaths for leading causes of death:
· Heart disease: 616,067
· Cancer: 562,875
· Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
· Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
· Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
· Alzheimer's disease: 74,632
· Diabetes: 71,382
· Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
· Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
· Septicemia: 34,828
 
 
 
 
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