Health experts are now stunned by a rise in the nation’s overall death rates — the first in a decade, and really one of the few in a quarter-century that didn’t have a fairly clear explanation.
“The death rate rose to 729.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, up from 723.2 in 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. It was one of the few times in the past 25 years that the rate has increased. A bad flu season pushed it up in 2005, and AIDS and the flu contributed to a sharp increase in 1993. In 1999, there was a tiny increase,” theNew York Times reports.
This time around, a combination of drug overdoses, suicide, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s were proposed as explanations. More precisely, the chief of mortality statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, Robert Anderson, said the death rate from heart disease has “flattened” after declining for decades, giving other causes of death a greater share of the overall rate.