The number of deaths in America rose this year because of a significant increase in the deaths produced by drug overdoses and guns, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC, the deaths from cancer and heart disease are declining if compared to the same period of 2016. Despite the reduction of the fatalities produced by this two major killers in America, the overall death rate increased.

Opioid crisis, Gun death rates in America, Life expectancy in the US, Guns
Gun deaths increased considerably around the country, according to the CDC. Image credit: Pars Herald

As well, the CDC noted that Americans’ life expectancy is reducing.

“What we’re seeing here is even though heart disease is going down, even though cancer is going down, the overall death rate is going up,” Farida Ahmad, the report’s author and mortality surveillance lead at the center. “People apparently are dying of other causes”.

Gun deaths and drugs are causing alarm in America

Historically the two leading causes of deaths in America have been cancer and heart-related fatalities. However, it appears that other causes of deaths are gaining relevance and causing concerned among Americans. According to the CDC’s latest report, guns and drugs are producing more and more fatalities.

About two-thirds of gun deaths are still suicides; however, the homicide rate has had a notable increase recently, going from 9,600 homicides in 2015 to 11,000 in 2016, as some cities have grown more violent. This year is the second year on the road in which gun fatalities have increased. The gun deaths had remained stable for more than a decade.

On the other hand, the deaths produced by drug overdoses are related to the current opioid crisis in America. Most of them are caused by the use of prescription painkillers  which contain addictive substances such as oxycodone and fentanyl  and illegal drugs such as heroin.

Opioid crisis, Gun death rates in America, Life expectancy in the US
The opioid crisis claims so many lives that it was recently labeled as a national health emergency. Image credit: Getty Images

Between the last three months of 2015 and the same period of 2016, deaths produced by overdoses went from 16.3 out of every 100,000 Americans to 19.8 out of every 100,000 Americans. More than 60,000 people lost their lives because of an overdose in 2016.

The average life expectancy of an American decreased

The good news about the CDC report is that cancer and heart diseases are causing fewer deaths now, and so is HIV. Cancer deaths have dropped by 25 percent since 1991. Tough reducing those fatalities is a remarkable achievement, the CDC concluded that the average life expectancy in the United States decreased to 78.8 years.

The deterioration of the average life expectancy is because other causes of deaths are producing more fatalities. Another critical factor to understand this is the poor diet of the American which is producing premature deaths, according to the recently released update to the Global Burden of Disease project.

Experts advise people to exercise and to have better habits to continue to decrease certain diseases. It could also be possible to reverse the recent trends related to the firearm and drugs fatalities. However, it takes a lot of work from the local and federal governments and the communities.

Teen pregnancies decrease while preterm birth increase

According to other two reports of the National Center for Health Statistics, teen pregnancies are declining. Sadly, during the last couple of years, preterm births have had an increase.

“Preterm birth is associated with a number of adverse outcomes for the infant and for the mom, and so seeing that trend kind of ticking in the wrong direction is something that could be potentially concerning,” said Lauren Rossen, report author and reproductive health surveillance lead at the National Center for Health Statistics.

Rossen noted the majority of infant mortality occurs during the early (neonatal) period, adding that the most common causes include “congenital deformities and genetic mutations, disorders related to low birth weight, and maternal complications.”

Opioid crisis, Gun death rates in America, Life expectancy in the US
Infant mortality rates remained somewhat similar. Image credit: The Villager NewsPaper

In 2016, the infant mortality  babies younger than one year  rate was of 5.87 per 1,000 births. The Neonatal mortality  deaths of babies with 27 days or less  was 3.88 per 1,000 births and the postneonatal mortality  deaths of infants with ages between 28 days and 11 months  was 2 per 1,000 births.

Researchers stated that they based the reports on provisional data because they don’t always get all the information they need from the states. Ahmad said that getting one report ready could take up to two years while they wait for data from each state.

Rossen, on the other hand, said that they always try to mitigate the effects of the missing data. However, there have been some improvements between the states and the federal government, and now the center has access to the data in real time

“But as our databases and systems have improved, we have been striving to put out data in a more timely way so that it’s more accessible,” said Ahmad

Source: CNN