Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh found that how fatigued certain activities make an older person feel can predict the likelihood of death is less than three years away.
They found older people who scored the highest in terms of how tired or exhausted they would feel after activities were more than twice as likely to die in the following 2.7 years.
The research is published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A. and was conducted by Nancy W Glynn et al.
Previous studies have shown that getting more physical activity can reduce a person’s fatigue.
This study is the first to link more severe physical fatigability to an earlier death.
In the study, fatigability was assessed for a range of activities using the novel Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale.
They tested 2,906 participants aged 60 or older in the Long Life Family Study.
Participants ranged from 0 to 5 on how tired they thought or imagined that certain activities—such as a leisurely 30-minute walk, light housework or heavy gardening—would make them.
After accounting for other factors that influence mortality, the team found that people who scored 25 points or higher on the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale were 2.3 times more likely to die in the 2.7 years after completing the scale, compared to their counterparts who scored below 25.
Beyond tying high fatigability to an earlier death, the study showed the value of the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale, which was created in 2014. It has since been translated into 11 languages.
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