Facebook Pixel

The Changing Face of Final Illness Over the Last Hundred Years

By HERWriter
Rate This
Changing Face of Final Illness Over the Past Hundred Years Divakaran Dileep/PhotoSpin

Are you in your late 20s, healthy, vibrant and just launching your career or family? If it were 1915, you would already be middle-aged. One hundred years ago, the average woman’s life expectancy was only 56.8 years.

According to the CDC, the top three causes of death in 1915 were heart disease, pneumonia and influenza, and tuberculosis.

Thanks to the discovery of penicillin in 1928 and its widespread use by the 1940s, deaths due to respiratory infections declined precipitously over the last century. Antibiotics have played a key role in raising women’s life expectancy.

Your daughters and granddaughters born in 2015 can expect to live 86.8 years, an increase in 30 years over the last century.

Deaths from respiratory infections have dropped to number 9, making room for the three leading causes of death in the United States today: heart disease, cancer and non-infectious respiratory diseases such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

Medical News Today reports that these top three causes account for over 50 percent of all deaths in the country.

For a look at the evolution of fatal illness in the U.S., check out What Kills Us in One Chart.

Decades of overuse of antibiotics and the consequent antibiotic resistance has raised concerns that infectious diseases will regain their foothold. The World Health Organization reported here on the threat of antimicrobal resistance (AMR) to global public health.

Groundbreaking news in the battle against superbugs was reported in January in the journal Nature. Teixobactin, a newly discovered antibiotic, is proving to outmaneuver antibiotic resistance. It is a promising development in the field of infectious disease.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Heart Disease

Get Email Updates

Heart Disease Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!