Centenarians 'outliving diseases of old age'
Centenarians have a way to beat the common diseases of old age, such as cancer and heart disease, research suggests. The study by King's College London found they were more likely to die of infections such as pneumonia, unlike younger groups of elderly. Researchers said 28% of 100- to 115-year-olds died of "old age" and a fifth of pneumonia.
Cancer claimed the lives of fewer than 5% and heart disease fewer than 9%. The study was based on an analysis of 36,000 death certificates. By comparison, these diseases were the most common reasons for death among the 80- to 84-year-old age group, with cancer responsible for 25% of deaths and heart disease nearly a fifth.
Lead researcher Dr Catherine Evans said the findings raised important questions for health and care services. "Centenarians have outlived death from chronic illness, but they are a group living with increasing frailty and vulnerability to pneumonia and other poor health outcomes.