Leading Causes of Death for 71-Year-Olds

Aging is an inevitable process that brings various changes and challenges to different aspects of life, including health. As people grow older, they become more susceptible to illnesses and conditions that can significantly impact their quality of life. In particular, 71-year-olds are likely to experience health issues that were not as prevalent in their younger years. In this article, we will discuss the common causes of death for individuals in this age group. We will also explore the causes and risk factors for these conditions and what seniors can do to reduce their risk or manage their symptoms. Whether you are a senior or a caregiver to one, understanding these health concerns is crucial to maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life. (Note: See here for 70-year-old causes of death or here for the most common causes of death for 72-year-olds.)

Leading Causes of Death for 71-Year-Olds (2021 CDC Data)

Cause of DeathTotal Deaths
Heart Disease18,377
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease3,912
Accidents (Incl. Overdoses)1,894
Kidney Disease1,285
Liver Disease (incl. Cirrhosis)1,157
Alzheimer's Disease967
Flu (Non-COVID)951
Parkinson's Disease714
Pneumonitis Due To Solids & Liquids386
Nutritional Deficiency237
Gallbladder Disorder110
Peptic Ulcer87
Viral Hepatitis63
Congenital Malformations29

According to the most recent CDC data from 2021, heart disease and cancer remain the leading causes of death for 71-year-olds. In fact, these two medical conditions are almost equal in their toll, with heart disease claiming 18,377 lives and cancer claiming 18,211.

Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 ranks third on the list with 10,465 fatalities. This year has been unlike any other in terms of public health calamities, and the pandemic’s significant impact on mortality statistics is clear in this ranking.

Chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and accidents (including overdoses) round out the top five causes of death for 71-year-olds. It’s interesting to note that, while accidents are a leading cause of death, the number of accidents is still lower than some might expect. The same goes for suicide, which comes in at 456 deaths.

Kidney disease, liver disease, septicemia, and Alzheimer’s disease are also responsible for considerable numbers of deaths. Kudos to healthcare providers and public health advocates, though, as flu (non-COVID) deaths are quite low, with only 951 attributed to the illness.

However, there are some notable surprises– for instance, homicides are responsible for 74 deaths at 71 years old, much higher than Hepatitis, HIV, and Congenital Malformations. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the vast majority of deaths at this age are attributed to long-term chronic medical conditions like heart disease and cancer.

All in all, this data underlines the role of preventative care, public health measures to combat pandemics, and early diagnosis in managing mortality risk.

Top Causes of Death for Age 71 Men

Cause of DeathTotal Deaths
Heart Disease11,338
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease2,093
Accidents (Incl. Overdoses)1,240
Liver Disease (incl. Cirrhosis)715
Kidney Disease695
Flu (Non-COVID)546
Parkinson's Disease472
Alzheimer's Disease356
Pneumonitis Due To Solids & Liquids244
Nutritional Deficiency119
Gallbladder Disorder73
Viral Hepatitis63
Peptic Ulcer49
Congenital Malformations29

Analyzing the mortality data for 71-year-old men reveals that heart disease and cancer continue to be the major causes of death. Heart disease alone caused 11,338 deaths, while cancer caused 9,895. Both of these medical conditions together accounted for over 50% of all deaths in this age cohort.

COVID-19, which is the third leading cause of death for this group, claimed 6,025 lives. Meanwhile, chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and accidents (including overdoses) are among the other leading causes of death, which was similar to the results for all genders.

Furthermore, liver disease (including cirrhosis), kidney disease, and septicemia are leading factors and can be classified as the supplementary causes of death. It is interesting to note that nutritional deficiency, which is not so common, was still responsible for 119 deaths. Additionally, Alzheimer’s disease caused 356 deaths, while suicide caused 375 deaths, critical but smaller in number.

Parkinson’s disease, pneumonitis due to solids and liquids, gallbladder disorder, and viral hepatitis round out the leading causes of death for 71-year-old men. Interestingly, flu (non-COVID), enterocolitis, and HIV caused relatively fewer deaths in this group.

All in all, these results echo the leading causes of death for 71-year-olds overall. Additionally, the data emphasizes the importance of preventative measures and early detection in the management of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

Common Causes of Death for 71-Year-Old Women

Cause of DeathTotal Deaths
Heart Disease7,039
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease1,819
Accidents (Incl. Overdoses)654
Alzheimer's Disease611
Kidney Disease590
Liver Disease (incl. Cirrhosis)442
Flu (Non-COVID)405
Parkinson's Disease242
Pneumonitis Due To Solids & Liquids142
Nutritional Deficiency118
Peptic Ulcer38
Gallbladder Disorder37

Looking at the data for 71-year-old women, cancer is the leading cause of death, responsible for 8,316 deaths. Heart disease comes in second with 7,039 deaths, making it another significant contributor to mortality in this demographic. COVID-19 is also among the leading causes of death, with 4,440 fatalities.

Chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and accidents continue to be the other primary causes of mortality for women at this age. These causes, along with Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, and liver disease, are responsible for the majority of deaths among this demographic.

Interestingly, suicide and homicide are relatively less common causes of death for 71-year-old women, with only 81 and 33 recorded deaths, respectively. In contrast, accidents cause around 10 times more deaths than homicides, highlighting the relative safety in low-income countries such as Norway where homicide rates are lower.

As with the overall mortality data, this analysis reinforces the importance of preventative care, early diagnosis, and long-term management of chronic illnesses in reducing the chances of death from the aforementioned leading causes of death.

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