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Frailty increases through aging, not age

Washington , Wed, 27 Apr 2011 ANI

Washington, April 27 (ANI): The prevalence of frailty, which is linked to earlier death, increases throughout adulthood as people age and not just after age 65, according to a new study.


Frailty in medical terms refers to a person's health status and the risk of adverse events related to various health conditions. It is usually associated with older adults.


The researchers wanted to know the impact of age on fitness and frailty and the impact of fitness and frailty related to age and sex on mortality.


They looked at data on 14 713 people, of whom 54 percent were women, over a 12 year period from 1994-95 to 2006-07 with two-year monitoring intervals.


A Frailty Index, used to grade risk, rated people's health levels and the accumulation of health deficits.


Most participants (7183) reported fairly high relative fitness at the start of the study compared with 1019 who were frail.


These relatively fit people generally stayed healthy and those who were frail at the start were most likely to die. As participants aged, their frailty level increased.


"We found that the prevalence of frailty increased exponentially with age throughout the adult life span and not just after age 65, where the sharpest inflection of the curve occurred," wrote Kenneth Rockwood, Dalhousie University and coauthors.


People with higher frailty levels used more health care services and the risk of institutionalisation increased for the frailest.


"Our data suggest that deficit accumulation is a fact of aging, not age, and that the antecedents of frailty in late life manifest at least by middle age," the authors said.


The study was published Canadian Medical Association Journal. (ANI)



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