How tired various activities make an elderly person feel can foretell whether or not death is less than three years away. Researchers have found that physical fatigability is a predictor of death.
In comparison to their counterparts who scored lower, older persons who scored highest in terms of how weary or fatigued they would feel after activities were more than twice as likely to die in the following 2.7 years. The Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale was used to assess feasability for a variety of activities.
“Previous research indicates that getting more physical activity can reduce a person’s fatigability. Our study is the first to link more severe physical fatigability to an earlier death. Conversely, lower scores indicate greater energy and more longevity,” says lead author Nancy W. Glynn.
In the Long Life Family Investigation, an international study that follows family members through two generations, Glynn and her colleagues administered the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale to 2,906 participants aged 60 or older. Participants ranked on a scale of 0 to 5 how exhausted they believed or anticipated particular activities would make them, such as a leisurely 30-minute walk, light housekeeping, or heavy gardening.
To minimize any increased mortality impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, the study’s follow-up ended at the end of 2019, giving the team an average of 2.7 years of data on each participant.
After controlling for a variety of factors that influence mortality, such as depression, pre-existing or underlying terminal illness, age, and gender, the researchers discovered that participants who scored 25 or higher on the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale were 2.3 times more likely to die in the 2.7 years following the completion of the scale than those who scored less than 25.
“There has been research showing that people who increase their physical activity can decrease their fatigability score,” adds Glynn, a physical activity epidemiologist. “And one of the best ways to increase physical activity — which simply means moving more — is by setting manageable goals and starting a routine, like a regular walk or scheduled exercise.”
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