Fatigue in older people linked to higher early death risk

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A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh has recently made a significant breakthrough in understanding the health of older adults.

Their study reveals a strong link between fatigue and the risk of dying earlier among the elderly.

Specifically, they found that older individuals who feel extremely tired or exhausted after engaging in activities are more likely to pass away within the next 2.7 years compared to those who experience less fatigue.

This connection between severe tiredness and increased mortality risk is a first-of-its-kind discovery. The research underlines the importance of managing fatigue and suggests that being physically active could help reduce feelings of tiredness.

To gauge the participants’ fatigue levels accurately, the researchers employed the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale, a tool designed by the University of Pittsburgh.

Since its development in 2014, this scale has become a globally recognized instrument for measuring fatigue, now available in 11 languages.

The study involved 2,906 participants, all aged 60 or older, from the Long-Life Family Study. They were asked to rate their anticipated tiredness from various activities, ranging from a leisurely 30-minute walk to more demanding tasks like heavy gardening, on a scale from 0 to 5.

The findings were quite revealing. Participants who scored 25 or more on the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale were found to be 2.3 times more likely to die within the following 2.7 years than those who scored below 25.

This demonstrates that high levels of self-reported fatigue are a significant predictor of mortality risk in the elderly.

The implications of this study extend beyond the immediate findings. It underscores the importance of monitoring fatigue levels in older adults and using tools like the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale in both clinical and research settings.

Additionally, it aligns with previous research that emphasizes the benefits of maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity, for disease prevention and longevity.

This research not only highlights how feelings of tiredness in older adults can signal deeper health issues but also suggests that addressing fatigue could be a crucial factor in enhancing the well-being and longevity of the elderly population.

Published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, the study led by Nancy W Glynn and her team offers new insights into the relationship between fatigue, overall health, and lifespan in older adults.

It provides a fresh perspective on aging and health, emphasizing the need for greater awareness and management of fatigue to improve health outcomes for the elderly.

If you care about wellness, please read studies about how ultra-processed foods and red meat influence your longevity, and why seafood may boost healthy aging.

For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

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