Feeling tired could be a sign of early death risk in older people

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Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have uncovered a link that could have significant implications for older adults’ health monitoring.

They found that how tired elderly people feel after engaging in everyday activities could indicate their life expectancy, specifically within the next few years.

In their study, the scientists analyzed the experiences of 2,906 individuals aged 60 and older.

Each participant was asked to estimate their level of fatigue after performing various tasks like a slow 30-minute walk, light housekeeping, or more strenuous activities such as heavy gardening. They rated their expected tiredness on a scale from 0 to 5.

The findings revealed a striking pattern: those who reported higher levels of fatigue were more than twice as likely to pass away within the next 2.7 years. This correlation held even after accounting for other factors that typically influence longevity.

The researchers used a specific tool for this study, known as the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale, developed in 2014. This scale, which has since been translated into 11 languages, measures how tired people expect to feel after completing certain activities.

The consistent use of this scale across various populations has validated its effectiveness and utility in gerontological research.

This study is pioneering in that it’s the first to directly link the subjective experience of fatigue to a shorter lifespan among the elderly.

Previous research had already shown that being more physically active can help reduce feelings of fatigue, but this new study emphasizes that the subjective feeling of tiredness itself is an important health indicator.

The implications of these findings are profound. They suggest that monitoring how tired one feels could be as crucial as tracking other vital signs in predicting life expectancy.

For older adults, regularly assessing fatigue levels could be a simple yet effective way to keep an eye on their health. If someone finds that they are frequently feeling very tired, it could be a signal to seek medical advice.

This research, led by scientist Nancy W. Glynn, adds a valuable dimension to our understanding of aging and health.

It was published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, contributing important insights into how we might better support the aging population to not only live longer but healthier lives.

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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