What's the Leading Cause of Death for the Elderly?

head injury, elderly, death
The leading cause of death for those over age 65 are injuries related to falling down. (Image credit: Marcin Kempski |Dreamstime.com)

Surprisingly, the most common way to die after age 65 is to fall down, According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).

In 2006, more than a million people a year are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for head injuries related to accidents linked to common objects found in and around the home, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many more get hurt but are treated at doctor’s offices, immediate care centers, or do not seek medical treatment.

Children under 4 are also at high risk of head injury from falls in and around the home, the AANS says. These 20 things contribute to the most head injuries:

• Floors or Flooring Materials: 260,983 • Stairs or Steps: 114,752 • Beds or Bedframes (other or not specified): 101,548 • Tables (not classified elsewhere): 70,452 • Ceilings and Walls (completed structure): 64,356 • Chairs (other or not specified): 50,482 • Cabinets, Racks, Room Dividers and Shelves: 40,014 • Bathtubs or Showers: 34,446 • Doors (not specified): 32,009 • Desks, Chests, Bureaus or Buffets: 26,110 • Sofas, Couches, Davenports, Divans: 25,227 • Ladders (all types): 17,251 • Toys (all toy categories combined): 14,924 • Rugs or Carpets (not specified): 14,867 • Porches, Balconies, Open-Sided Floors: 13,994 • Toilets: 11,246 • Bunk Beds: 10,778 • Counters or Countertops: 10,683 • Door Sills or Frames: 10,014 • Fences or Fence Posts: 9,383

The AANS has an extensive list of head-injury prevention tips here.

(Check out a sister site of Live Science's called Dignifyed, which has in-depth and hands-on reviews of products related to health and wellness for older people.)

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Live Science Staff
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