Cause specific mortality patterns among the oldest old: multiple cause of death trends 1968 to 1980.
Trends in sex specific mortality from six conditions (hip fracture, septicemia, pneumonia, cancer, heart disease, and stroke) were examined for the period 1968 to 1980 to determine if recent increases in life expectancy at advanced ages were associated with significant shifts in the pattern of cause specific mortality at those ages. Changes in life table parameters were assessed both at birth and age 85 to determine if the relative significance of certain conditions had increased or decreased at advanced ages. In particular, I examined whether three conditions (hip fracture, septicemia, pneumonia), often viewed as being associated with mortality among debilitated persons, had increased in the proportion of deaths they affected at advanced ages and if there had been changes in the mean age at death for persons with these conditions. I also examined trends in the mortality rates of three conditions (heart disease, stroke, cancer) that often are viewed as primary disease processes with high mortality risks. Overall there seemed to be little evidence that mortality for conditions associated with a debilitation had increased markedly at later ages.
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