Life expectancy at birth increased to 78.2 years in 2009, up slightly from 78.0 years in 2008, according to preliminary 2009 death statistics reported by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics in the March 16 issue of National Vital Statistics Reports. Women continued to have a higher life expectancy (80.6 years) than men (75.7 years).

The age-adjusted death rate for the U.S. population fell by 2.3 percent to an all-time low in 2009, marking the 10th year in a row that U.S. deaths rates have declined. Age-adjusted death rates dropped by 3.7 percent for heart disease, which remained the leading cause of death, and declined 4.1 percent for diabetes and 4.2 percent for stroke. For analysis of a potential link between these declining death rates and the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, visit the AASM’s Sleep Education Blog.