Over the last 15 years, there has been a 40 percent increase in the number of centenarians who have lived and died in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report said that 40 of the women in 2014 were 111 years old or older when they died, compared to five men, the Associated Press reported. The study said heart disease is the No. 1 killer of centenarians, but Alzheimer’s disease was second, compared to cancer, which is No. 2 overall in the country but fourth for centenarians, behind stroke.
Boiling Springs Family Medicine physician Dr. Chad Jumper talked about the increase of centenarians and why more people are living longer.
Q: Why are more people living past their 100th birthdays?
A: More people are reaching the century mark due to many reasons. Some prime examples include improved health care for some of the most common causes of death, including heart attack, stroke and cancer.
Q: In general, how often do you see patients locally who are close to 100 or beyond that age?
A: In general, I see more patients reaching their 90s. I have yet to care for a patient over 100 years of age.
Q: What are the most common health concerns for centenarians?
A: Health concerns for centenarians include fall prevention, bone strength, nutrition, memory loss and depression.
Q: What are no longer health concerns once people reach 100?
A: People who reach 100 no longer need certain health screenings, especially those for cancer. These screenings are now longer considered necessary in patients of advanced age because it becomes much more likely they will die from other diseases.
Q: What do you recommend families or patients watch for as they move past 100?
A: Patients and families should make sure the home environment is safe and free of fall risks. Medications should be reviewed to prevent problems with compliance, interactions and side effects. Watching out for memory and mood issues is also very important.