Leading Causes of Death for 85-Year-Olds

As people near their 85th birthday, they may start to experience a decline in their overall health. Age-related health issues can increase their risk of developing chronic diseases and medical conditions, leading to a higher likelihood of death. In this article, we will explore the leading causes of death for 85-year-olds, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s. By understanding the primary reasons that seniors may lose their lives, we can identify ways to prevent these deadly conditions and help our aging loved ones stay healthy as they approach their golden years. (Note: If you’d like to compare year-over-year, see here 84-year-old causes of death.)

Choose kindness.

You never know what battles people may be fighting.

Leading Causes of Death for 85-Year-Olds (2021 CDC Data)

Cause of DeathTotal Deaths
Heart Disease26,284
Cancer13,461
COVID-198,729
Alzheimer’s Disease5,422
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease4,045
Accidents (Incl. Overdoses)2,475
Diabetes2,144
Parkinson’s Disease1,906
Kidney Disease1,614
Flu (Non-COVID)1,138
Septicemia994
Pneumonitis Due To Solids & Liquids676
Nutritional Deficiency631
Liver Disease (incl. Cirrhosis)313
Suicide187
Anemias154
Gallbladder Disorder140
Enterocolitis120
Hernia81
Peptic Ulcer76
Prostate Hyperplasia28

According to the latest data from the CDC, heart disease is still the leading cause of death for 85-year-olds, with over 26,000 deaths reported in 2021. Cancer ranks second, with over 13,000 deaths, followed by COVID-19, with over 8,000 deaths.

Alzheimer’s disease and chronic lower respiratory disease round out the top five causes of death, with about 5,400 and 4,000 deaths, respectively.

It’s worth noting that accidents, including overdoses, are also a significant cause of mortality in this age group, with over 2,000 deaths reported.

Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and kidney disease also significantly impact mortality rates among 85-year-olds, with over 2,000 deaths attributed to diabetes alone.

The data also shows that influenza (non-COVID) and septicemia are among the top causes of death, with over 1,000 deaths reported for each. Other causes of death, like nutritional deficiencies and gallbladder disorders, are less common but still worth noting.

 

Top Causes of Death for Age 85 Men

Cause of DeathTotal Deaths
Heart Disease12,599
Cancer6,972
COVID-194,701
Alzheimer’s Disease1,888
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease1,762
Accidents (Incl. Overdoses)1,242
Parkinson’s Disease1,164
Diabetes1,118
Kidney Disease844
Flu (Non-COVID)605
Septicemia478
Pneumonitis Due To Solids & Liquids402
Nutritional Deficiency232
Suicide187
Liver Disease (incl. Cirrhosis)171
Gallbladder Disorder71
Anemias67
Enterocolitis53
Peptic Ulcer37
Hernia31
Prostate Hyperplasia28

Looking at the mortality data for men aged 85, it’s clear that heart disease remains the leading cause of death, with over 12,000 deaths recorded in 2021. Cancer ranks as the second most common cause of mortality, with over 6,000 deaths reported.

COVID-19 was also a significant contributor to mortality among older men, with over 4,000 deaths attributed to the virus.

Other leading causes of death for this group include Alzheimer’s, chronic lower respiratory disease, and accidents, including overdoses. Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and kidney disease also contributed to mortality rates in this age group.

The data also reveals that influenza (non-COVID) and septicemia were among the leading causes of death among older men, with over 600 and 400 deaths reported, respectively.

Rarer causes of mortality in this group include nutritional deficiency, gallbladder disorders, anemias, enterocolitis, peptic ulcers, hernias, and prostate hyperplasia.

Would you ever sneak out to avoid paying a dinner bill?

So why would you leave your family with a $10,000 final expense bill?

Common Causes of Death for 85-Year-Old Women

Cause of DeathTotal Deaths
Heart Disease13,685
Cancer6,489
COVID-194,028
Alzheimer’s Disease3,534
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease2,283
Accidents (Incl. Overdoses)1,233
Diabetes1,026
Kidney Disease770
Parkinson’s Disease742
Flu (Non-COVID)533
Septicemia516
Nutritional Deficiency399
Pneumonitis Due To Solids & Liquids274
Liver Disease (incl. Cirrhosis)142
Anemias87
Gallbladder Disorder69
Enterocolitis67
Hernia50
Peptic Ulcer39

Analyzing the mortality data shows that heart disease is the leading cause of death for 85-year-old women, with over 13,000 deaths reported. Cancer ranks second, with over 6,000 deaths, and COVID-19 follows in third place, with over 4,000 deaths reported.

Alzheimer’s and chronic lower respiratory disease are also leading causes of death, with 3,500 and 2,300 deaths, respectively.

Accidents, including overdoses, are also a significant cause of mortality for women in this age group, with over 1,200 deaths reported.

Other leading causes of death among 85-year-old women include diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, and flu (non-COVID). Septicemia and nutritional deficiencies are among the top causes of death, with over 500 and 300 deaths reported.