ADDS WHITE HOUSE COMMENTS
By Esra Kaymak Avci
WASHINGTON (AA) – The mortality rate in the U.S. increased in 2015 for the first time in a decade, according to federal data released Wednesday.
Preliminary figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the increase is driven by more deaths from suicides, Alzheimer’s and drug overdoses last year than in the past 10 years.
The rise in rates surprised experts, considering advances in health, disease management and medical technology.
The age adjusted death rate for all causes increased from 723.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2014 to 729.5 in 2015.
Deaths from suicides increased to 13.1 in the third quarter of 2015 compared to 12.7 during the same quarter the previous year.
For Alzheimer’s, the rate rose to 29.2 in 2015 compared to 25.4 in 2014.
Heart disease deaths were up slightly to 167.1 in 2015 compared to 166.7 in 2014.
And in the second quarter of 2015, drug overdose deaths were up to 15.2 from 14.1 for the same three-month period in 2014.
Asked by reporters about the new report, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said America's ongoing opioid crisis was partially responsible.
He urged Republican lawmakers to approve greater treatment funding to help stem the crisis.
Despite the increase number of deaths from heart disease, it is not considered a statistically important rise. It is the first time since 1993 that rate did not decline, medical experts said, according to media reports.
*Anadolu Agency correspondent Michael Hernandez contributed to this report from Washington.