Leading Causes of Death for 68-Year-Olds

As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to various health issues and ailments. For 68-year-olds, the risk of serious health problems is relatively high, and it's essential to be aware of the leading causes of death in this age group to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whether it's heart disease, cancer, or stroke, understanding the root causes of these diseases can help you take necessary steps to prevent them. In this article, we will discuss the top causes of death for people approaching their 70s and how to reduce the risk factors. (Note: See here for 67-year-old causes of death or here for the most common causes of death for 69-year-olds.)

Leading Causes of Death for 68-Year-Olds (2021 CDC Data)

Cause of DeathTotal Deaths
Heart Disease16,864
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease3,461
Accidents (Incl. Overdoses)2,207
Liver Disease (incl. Cirrhosis)1,407
Kidney Disease1,121
Flu (Non-COVID)779
Alzheimer's Disease577
Parkinson's Disease409
Pneumonitis Due To Solids & Liquids353
Nutritional Deficiency194
Viral Hepatitis160
Gallbladder Disorder89
Peptic Ulcer85
Congenital Malformations66
Kidney Infection25

The leading causes of death for 68-year-olds in 2021, based on CDC data, are cancer and heart disease with roughly the same number of fatalities (16,974 and 16,864, respectively). COVID-19, which is the biggest pandemic in recent history, has claimed 9,897 lives of these individuals, making it the third leading cause of death.

Other common causes of death include chronic lower respiratory disease (3,461), diabetes (2,749), and accidents (including overdoses; 2,207). Liver disease (including cirrhosis; 1,407), kidney disease (1,121), and septicemia (1,040) also contribute to fatalities.

It is striking that flu (non-COVID) is still a concern, claiming 779 lives in this age group. Alzheimer’s disease is the 11th leading cause of death (577), and suicide ranks 12th with 539 deaths. Parkinson’s disease (409) and pneumonitis due to solids and liquids (353) are also prevalent causes of death. Nutritional deficiency (194), viral hepatitis (160), anemias (108), and gallbladder disorders (89) round out the top 20 causes of death.

It should be noted that this data gives insight into the morbidity of aging and the need to promote healthy lifestyles and preventative medicine. Additionally, understanding these patterns can help healthcare providers to allocate resources to the most pressing health concerns.

Top Causes of Death for Age 68 Men

Cause of DeathTotal Deaths
Heart Disease10,854
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease1,850
Accidents (Incl. Overdoses)1,544
Liver Disease (incl. Cirrhosis)892
Kidney Disease610
Flu (Non-COVID)448
Parkinson's Disease283
Pneumonitis Due To Solids & Liquids246
Alzheimer's Disease228
Viral Hepatitis108
Nutritional Deficiency91
Gallbladder Disorder55
Peptic Ulcer50
Congenital Malformations35

Looking at the data for 68-year-old men, heart disease is the most prevalent cause of death, accounting for 10,854 fatalities. Following closely behind is cancer with 9,472 deaths, making it the second top cause of death. COVID-19 has claimed 5,821 lives of these men, ranking it as the third leading cause of death. Chronic lower respiratory disease (1,850), diabetes (1,688), and accidents (including overdoses; 1,544) are other common causes of death among this age group.

Liver disease (including cirrhosis; 892), kidney disease (610), and septicemia (533) are also prevalent causes of death. Flu (non-COVID) has claimed the lives of 448 men at age 68. Suicide (417), Parkinson’s disease (283), pneumonitis due to solids and liquids (246), and Alzheimer’s disease (228) are the next main causes of death.

Viral hepatitis (108), nutritional deficiency (91), homicide (57), gallbladder disorders (55), and peptic ulcer (50) are also key causes of mortality. Anemias (48), enterocolitis (36), HIV (66), and congenital malformations (35) round out the top causes of death. The data highlights the importance of preventative medicine and healthy lifestyle choices, particularly for at-risk individuals.

Common Causes of Death for 68-Year-Old Women

Cause of DeathTotal Deaths
Heart Disease6,010
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease1,611
Accidents (Incl. Overdoses)663
Liver Disease (incl. Cirrhosis)515
Kidney Disease511
Alzheimer's Disease349
Flu (Non-COVID)331
Parkinson's Disease126
Pneumonitis Due To Solids & Liquids107
Nutritional Deficiency103
Viral Hepatitis52
Peptic Ulcer35
Gallbladder Disorder34
Congenital Malformations31
Kidney Infection25

Looking at the table of common causes of death among 68-year-old women, the top five leading causes are cancer with 7,502 deaths, heart disease with 6,010 deaths, COVID-19 with 4,076 deaths, chronic lower respiratory disease with 1,611 deaths, and diabetes with 1,061 deaths.

Furthermore, accidents (including overdoses), liver disease (including cirrhosis), kidney disease, and septicemia are among the top ten causes of death for women at this age. Other prevalent causes of death include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and flu (non-COVID), with 349, 126, and 331 deaths respectively. Suicide ranked 12th with 122 deaths, followed by pneumonitis due to solids and liquids with 107 deaths, then nutritional deficiency with 103 deaths.

Furthermore, viral hepatitis, anemias, enterocolitis, and peptic ulcers combined account for less than 5% of the total deaths, with 52, 60, 43, and 35 deaths respectively. Kidney infections and congenital malformations both had 25 and 31 deaths, respectively, and homicide had 25 deaths.

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