Heart disease death rate plummets, but overdose death rate rises, CDC says

(CNN)–Three new reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bring both good and bad news about Americans’ health.

Death rates for heart disease, cancer and HIV are all down in the United States in the year ending mid-2017 compared to the same period last year, according to one report published Friday by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Despite these “wins,” the overall mortality rate has increased from the same time last year, the report also indicated. This overall uptick includes the death rate for drug overdoses.

The rate of overdose deaths has “increased greatly from last year,” said Farida Ahmad, the report’s author and mortality surveillance lead at the center.

“Heart disease and cancer are traditionally the major causes of death,” she said, so the overall death rate has followed the same trend in the past.

“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,” Ahmad said. Why? People apparently are dying of “other causes,” she said, and though drug overdoses contribute to the rising rate, they are only partly responsible for the increase.

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