According to ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases), old age has the designation R54. But despite the fact that she has her own number and code, it is wrong to put her as the cause of death of a person, even if he lived to an advanced age. After all, there is always a certain reason why the body ceases to function. About what exactly is meant by the phrase “died of old age” and what conditions lead to death in a person at a very respectable age, told Candidate of Medical Sciences, general practitioner, cardiologist Azizkhon Askarov.
The specialist notes that the human body has certain physiological resources, which the body gradually exhausts over time. “People over 80-90 years old usually already have a whole “bouquet” of diseases, the main of which can be called atherosclerosis (plaque filling) of the vessels of the heart, cerebral vessels, chronic pathologies of the kidneys, liver and lungs, diabetes mellitus,” notes Azizkhon Askarov.
Older people sometimes tend to have a reduced appetite, against this background they often even starve. When this happens, the doctor notes, the body is depleted (this condition is called catechism), which further exacerbates existing diseases. “If an elderly person still eats normally, he still progresses to lose weight due to impaired metabolism,” the specialist emphasizes.
Causes of death “from old age”
Usually, the term “died of old age” refers to the following conditions, says Azizkhon Askarov.
First, with the progression of chronic pathologies, a state of arrhythmic death can occur, when, against the background of increasing hypoxia (lack of oxygen), a severe heart rhythm disturbance occurs. Here we are talking about the development of severe ventricular tachycardia (heart rate in the lower chambers of the heart, in which the pulse reaches 150-200 beats per minute), because of which a person dies. Often this situation occurs during sleep.
The second is the presence of chronic diseases of the kidneys and liver in a person. “In this situation, cerebral edema may occur, as there will be irritation of the vasomotor center, followed by wedging of the brain into the skull in the region of the foramen magnum, intracranial pressure increases,” says Azizkhon Askarov.
The third is a cerebral hemorrhage against the background of high blood pressure. In simple terms, we are talking about a stroke – both hemorrhagic (with rupture of the walls of blood vessels) and ischemic (impaired circulation with damage to brain tissue).
The fourth condition is rarer, but still common in the elderly: cessation of breathing during sleep. “Usually this condition threatens people who have obesity, heavy snoring. In old age, suppression of protective reflexes occurs, such as coughing, and a person can simply choke in his sleep. And respiratory arrest will provoke cardiac arrest, ”explains Azizkhon Askarov.
It is these points that are usually implied, says the physician, when it is said that a man has died of old age.