The number of seniors visiting emergency rooms in the United States rose sharply from 1993 to 2003, and the increase was highest among black seniors, according to a new study from researchers at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington.

Overall, the study showed a 34 percent increase in ER visits by persons aged 65 to 74, while the rate was up only 19 percent for people aged 22 to 49, and 16 percent for people aged 50 to 64.

Emergency room visits by black adults aged 65 to 74 nearly doubled during the study period. Researchers say that the rise in ER visits among seniors could be due to advances in medicine that let people live longer with chronic illnesses, or peoples’ difficulty in finding preventive primary care.