Fatigue symptoms may predict death in years

Credit: Laura Chouette / Unsplash

Fatigue is when you feel exhausted all the time. It can impact your daily living and your mental and emotional state.

Stress, anxiety, depression, viruses, or sleep problems usually cause fatigue. Non-medical treatments may be effective in treating fatigue, like cognitive behavioral therapy.

A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh found that how fatigued certain activities make an older person feel can predict the likelihood of death 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.

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.

The team 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.

The research was published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A. and conducted by Nancy W Glynn et al.

If you care about health, please read studies about the cause of long COVID ‘brain fog’, and fatigue, headache among top lingering long COVID symptoms.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that almonds may improve exercise performance, and results showing Omega-3 fats may lower risk of irregular heart rhythm.

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