In planning/managing benefits, HR needs to know the health risks facing employees.
A new Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) analysis shows that life expectancy for Americans continues a downward trend, and mortality rates increased for seven of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. this past year.
Drug deaths are one key reason for higher mortality rates, CDC reported. In 2018, there were 47,6000 drug overdose deaths that involved any type of opioid, including heroin and illicit opioids, representing over two-thirds of all overdose deaths. In addressing this alarming crisis, CDC has increased funding to reach all 50 states and four U.S. territories to scale-up prevention and response activities, including improving the timeliness and quality of surveillance data, as well as advancing understanding of the opioid overdose epidemic.
One health consequence of the opioid epidemic, CDC noted, is a dramatic increase in infectious disease. For instance, hepatitis C infections have more than tripled in recent years, and the evidence points to people who inject drugs as being at high risk for this illness and other forms of viral hepatitis.
The suicide rate among the U.S. working-age population increased 34% between 2000 and 2016, data showed. In fact, these rates rose in nearly every state during that time period. Suicide currently is the 10th leading cause of death. CDC suggested that comprehensive suicide prevention activities are needed to address the full range of factors contributing to suicide.
In 2018, CDC data showed nearly 2.3 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S., including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. This surpassed the previous record by more than 200,000 cases and marked the fourth consecutive year of significant increases in these types of diseases.
Foodborne outbreaks continue to be a problem, the CDC noted. In 2018, the agency investigated and helped resolve several foodborne outbreaks, including E. coli infections associated with romaine lettuce, Salmonella in ground beef and kosher chicken, and Listeria in pork products.
Chronic disease continues to be a major concern. Heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and other related conditions caused 2.2. million hospitalizations, resulting in $32.7 billion in costs and 415,000 deaths. Many of these events were in adults between the ages of 35 and 64. If every state reduced these life-changing events by 6%, according to CDC, one million cardiac events could be prevented by 2022.
As nearly 80,000 Americans died last year from influenza, flu shots have never been more important; and these are available for no or reduced fee through many retailers and healthcare organizations.