Cm

All other causes

.Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis

Atherosclerosis Septicemia Alzheimer's disease Nephritis, etc.*

Pneumonia and influenza » \

Cerebrovascular diseases

All other causes

.Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis

Diseases of heart

Age to advanced ages is much more likely, and at older ages, various degenerative diseases present mortality risks even when infection is well controlled.

Thus, heart disease, cancer, and stroke became the most common causes of death in industrialized societies, as the age distribution of deaths shifted to older ages. As seen in Figure 3, which depicts the distribution of deaths by cause in various age groups for the United States in 1997, these three causes account for more than 60% of all deaths at older ages. On the other hand, accidents, homicide, suicide, and HIV/AIDS are the major killers among young adults. Infants and children die mostly from accidents and "other causes"—a residual category that includes, for example, congenital anomalies and childhood diseases.

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For centuries, ever since the legendary Ponce de Leon went searching for the elusive Fountain of Youth, people have been looking for ways to slow down the aging process. Medical science has made great strides in keeping people alive longer by preventing and curing disease, and helping people to live healthier lives. Average life expectancy keeps increasing, and most of us can look forward to the chance to live much longer lives than our ancestors.

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