Nation’s Death Rate Rises as Progress Against Heart Disease Stalls

According to a recent article in the *Wall Street Journal, Americans are dying from heart disease at a faster rate, stalling four decades of gains against the nation’s leading killer and driving up the U.S. mortality rate overall.

The death rate from heart disease rose 0.9% last year, according to U.S. mortality data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death rate also rose 3% for stroke, the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

Both changes, which researchers tie in large part to the rise in obesity and diabetes, helped push life expectancy down by one-tenth of a percentage point, to 78.8 years, according to the CDC.

Cardiovascular disease has been the biggest killer in the U.S. for more than a century. But death rates from heart disease in the U.S. have declined nearly 70% since 1969, brought about by anti-smoking and other public-health campaigns, the advent of medications to control blood pressure and cholesterol, and new techniques for saving peoples’ lives from heart attacks.
*Source: Betsy McKay and Ron Winslow, The Wall Street Journal
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