ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
CAREGIVING
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
EYE CARE, VISION
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
FITNESS
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Less Education May Mean Poorer Health
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boost Infant Development
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
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Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High

Average life expectancy in the United States has reached almost 78 years, a record high, federal health officials said Wednesday.

From birth in 2007, women can expect to live to 80.4 years on average and men to 75.3 years, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But even though Americans can expect to live longer than their parents, life expectancy in the United States is still lower than in many other industrialized countries, including Canada and Japan.

Along with increased life expectancy, the report notes the death rate has dropped to an all-time low of 760.3 deaths per 100,000 people, continuing a long-term trend.

"The risk of dying has dropped to a record low level, and life expectancy has reached a record high," said report co-author Arialdi M. Minino, a statistician at the CDC's Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics.

"Ever since the 1960s, the death rate has been decreasing in the United States," he said. Fewer deaths from heart disease, stroke and cancer are driving the trend, he said.

The report is based on data from nearly 90 percent of U.S. death certificates.

According to the report, life expectancy in 2007 increased to 77.9 years -- or 77 years and 11 months -- up from 77.7 years in 2006. Since 2000, life expectancy has increased 1.4 years.

The five leading causes of death, accounting for 64 percent of all deaths, are heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases and accidents.

Other findings include:

* Death rates in the United States vary by region and state, with the Southeast leading the nation. West Virginia's death rate is 25 percent higher than average, while Hawaii has the lowest death rate.
* White women have the longest life expectancy (80.7 years) followed by black women (77 years).
* At age 65, life expectancy was 18.6 years in 2007, an increase of 6 percent since 2000.
* Since 1989, the gap in life expectancy between whites and blacks has dropped 35 percent, to 4.6 years.

"This is great news," Dr. William O'Neill, executive dean for clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said of the overall findings.

Many people say the United States health care system is broken, O'Neill said. "But, this is kind of great evidence to show there has actually been some dramatic improvements in the health of Americans over the last 20 years."

However, living longer will also have unforeseen effects on the country, he said.

"We are going to have many people 80 to 90 years old," O'Neill said. "So how is the U.S. going to handle this huge increase?"

People living 20 years or more than their predecessors will have to rethink retirement planning, O'Neill said.

Also, the nation will see a significant drain on Social Security and Medicare benefits, he said. These programs weren't designed to support people for that long, he said, noting people typically lived five to 10 years after retiring, he said.

Increased life expectancy is largely the result of better treatment for heart disease, he said.

"The biggest reason people are living longer is that we have done a fantastic job in dealing with coronary artery disease," O'Neill said. In time, cancer may overtake heart disease as the nation's number one killer, the report noted.

O'Neill anticipates the trend toward longer life will continue, especially as cancer treatment improves. "I am seeing people living with cancers that 15 years ago would have been considered hopeless," he said.

SOURCES: Arialdi M. Minino, M.P.H, statistician, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics; William O'Neill, M.D., executive dean, clinical affairs, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Dec. 16, 2009, Death in the United States, 2007, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Published on: December 16, 2009