AIDS Deaths Dim Prospects for More Gains in US Life Expectancy

October 1, 1995
Oncology NEWS International, Oncology NEWS International Vol 4 No 10, Volume 4, Issue 10

NEW YORK-Life expectancy in the United States fell slightly between 1992 and 1993 and did not improve in 1994. The increase in overall mortality stems from increases in the number of deaths caused by the major killers (heart disease and cancer), as well as respiratory diseases (COPD, pneumonia, and influenza) and diabetes mellitus.

NEW YORK-Life expectancy in the United States fell slightly between1992 and 1993 and did not improve in 1994. The increase in overallmortality stems from increases in the number of deaths causedby the major killers (heart disease and cancer), as well as respiratorydiseases (COPD, pneumonia, and influenza) and diabetes mellitus.

But overall, and particularly among certain age groups, the decreasein life expectancy is closely linked to the increase in deathsfrom AIDS.

Life expectancy in this country peaked at 75.8 years in 1992 aftera steady rise from the 1940s, but fell in 1993 to 75.5 years andremained at that level in 1994, Stanley Kranczer reports in theStatistical Bulletin (Jul/Sept:12-20, 1995), the journal of theNational Center for Health Statistics, published by the MetropolitanLife Insurance Company.

In 1992, AIDS was responsible for 33,566 deaths, which rose toabout 38,500 in 1993, and to more than 40,000 in 1994. These increasesin AIDS-related deaths have a more significant impact on overalllongevity than do increases in deaths due to diseases that commonlyaffect older people because these older people would die anywayof some other cause within a few years, Mr. Kranczer explained.

Death rates for men aged 29 to 41, the age group most affectedby AIDS-related deaths, were higher in 1992 than in the 1979 to1981 period. The increase stands out, since during that same timeperiod, death rates fell among men under age 29.

Similar findings are beginning to show up in women, he said. Deathrates remained fairly stable from 1979-1981 to 1992 for womenin their early to mid-30s, but for all other age groups, deathrates during that time period decreased, and AIDS is the likelycause for this lack of improvement in life expectancy among womenin their 30s.

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