Women are more likely to reach 100 years than men. But men are healthier with fewer diagnosed chronic illnesses compared to women, say researchers at The King's College London.
The study suggested a 50 percent increase in the number of females reaching the age of 100 years between 1990 and 2013 and that women were four times more likely to reach age 100 than men. There was also a 30 percent increase in the number of males reaching 100 during the same period.
Whilst far fewer men reached the age of 100, those that did tended to be healthier, with women more likely to experience multiple chronic illnesses and disabilities such as fractures, incontinence and hearing/visual deterioration than men.
Less life-threatening conditions such as arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases were also shown to be more prevalent than the more serious illnesses such as diabetes and cancer across both men and women in the sample.
The increase in the overall number of centenarians and conditions associated with reaching this age suggest that the utilization of health care services by the elderly may increase substantially and could also have an impact on the associated health care costs.
Lead author Nisha Hazra said that as the number of people living to 100 continues to increase, it's very important to understand the evolving health care needs of the oldest old as this will help to accurately project health care costs associated with the aging population.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.