(ORDO NEWS) — According to US scientists, this is the first study that looks at physical fatigue in older adults as an indicator of earlier all-cause mortality.
The degree of fatigue older people experience while performing certain activities can be used to calculate the likelihood of death in less than three years from all causes, scientists from the Department of Epidemiology of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Columbia State University in Georgia, and also geneticists from the University of Washington in Missouri (USA). The results of the study are published in The Journals of Gerontology .
From 22.5% to 89.5% of older people complain of increased physical fatigue, and over time, women suffer from it more often than men. General fatigue, including mental fatigue, predicts a deterioration in physical and cognitive functions, and is associated with the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and depression.
At the same time, this sign, according to experts, can be clinically useful, as it reflects what a person is able to do, what his capabilities are, his level of physical fitness and how much effort is required for standard actions.
The authors of the new work analyzed data from more than 2.2 thousand people aged 60 and older (mean age 73.5 years, 54.2% women, 99.7% whites), who were members of several hundred families, representatives of two generations and participated in the Long Life Family Study , an international study of life expectancy.
On the Pittsburgh Fatigue Scale, they rated how tired they felt, for example, during a leisurely half-hour walk in the park, brisk walking for an hour, housework or gardening, watching TV for two hours, 30-minute workouts of varying intensity, social events and so on. Zero points meant “no fatigue”, five – “the highest degree of fatigue.”
The scores were summarized and compared, taking into account many other factors such as medication, the presence of diseases, pressure levels, bad habits, and so on. The study authors then constructed Kaplan-Meier survival curves to calculate the time to death as a function of the degree of fatigue.
“Our work establishes for the first time that perceived physical fatigue is a reliable independent indicator of mortality in the elderly.
We found that the most severe physical fatigue (≥ 25 points) was associated with a 2.3-fold increased risk of death at 2.7 years of follow-up compared with less fatigue (<25 points),” the scientists write. The correlation persisted even after adjusting for age and sex, two important predictors of mortality.
As the researchers note, over the past decade, fatigue has become a key marker of phenotypic aging, but no work has previously assessed whether this indicator can predict mortality from any cause.
The scientists plan to develop methods aimed at reducing the degree of physical fatigue in order to prevent violations of physical functions during the aging process and improve the well-being of patients.
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