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  • In our recent video about the leading  causes of death throughout history,  

  • we got a bunch of comments telling us that  we neglected to mention one of the biggest  

  • killers of all: old age. But there’s a reason  we left it out: from a medical perspective,  

  • dying of old agedoesn’t technically exist. Hi I’m David and this is MinuteEarth. As you  

  • get older, lots of not so good things happen to  your body: your tissues don’t heal as quickly,  

  • the walls of your blood vessels thickenyour cells get worse at fixing errors,  

  • and your immune system gets weaker. So if you  fall down, youre more likely to bleed internally;  

  • if plaque builds up in your arteries, it’s more  likely to cause a heart attack; if a cell mutates,  

  • youre much more likely to get cancer; and  if you get a cold, it’s much more likely to  

  • turn into pneumonia. So while being old makes you  more vulnerable to all sorts of health problems,  

  • death itself is always caused by a specific  malady…”old agealone can’t actually kill you

  • But you used to be able to die of old ageat  least officially. Really old people are pretty  

  • vulnerable, so they are often suffering from  lots of these potentially-fatal maladies at  

  • the end. When they do die, without doing  invasive post-mortem tests or autopsies,  

  • it's often difficult to figure out  which one struck the fatal blow,  

  • soold agewas a useful catch-all cause  of death for doctors to usehence the  

  • widespread use of the phrase. Nowadays, for  statistical, legal, and medical purposes,  

  • physicians in most places are required to fill out  forms that include a “specific cause of death”,  

  • so even if there are lots of different suspectsthey have to at least guess which one was the  

  • particular killer. But that’s not universal –  in 2022, the queen officially died of old age

  • Which does sound like a gentle way to go; that’s  another reason that so many of us think you can  

  • die of just being old. You’d probably rather  hear that your great grandma died because it  

  • was her time, rather than to know the gory details  about, say, the blood clot that moved to her brain  

  • and starved it of oxygen while she was sleepingwhich in turn caused her heart to stop beating

  • But while you might not want to hear about thatit IS important information for doctors. After  

  • all, they need to know what tends to kill old  people in order to develop treatments that  

  • combat these ailmentsor even just delay  their deadliness. So that in the future,  

  • old age isn’t something you die  from; it’s something you live for.

  • Of course, staying healthy isn’t just about  making sure your body keeps on ticking,  

  • it’s about taking care of yourself mentally as  well. That’s why were thrilled this video is  

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In our recent video about the leading  causes of death throughout history,  

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