Preventing frailty in old age

Preventing frailty in old age

The largest study of its kind, led by the University of Exeter, found that even small reductions in risk factors helped to reduce frailty, as well as dementia, chronic pain, and other disabling conditions of old age.

New research has shown that older people with very low heart disease risks also have very little frailty, raising the possibility that frailty could be prevented.

The largest study of its kind, led by the University of Exeter, found that even small reductions in risk factors helped to reduce frailty, as well as dementia, chronic pain, and other disabling conditions of old age.

Many perceive frailty to be an inevitable consequence of ageing – but the study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences found that severe frailty was 85% less likely in those with near ideal cardiovascular risk factors.

It also found that those with fewer heart disease risk factors were much less likely to have other conditions unrelated to the heart – including chronic pain, incontinence, falls, fractures, and dementia.

Dr João Delgado, of the University of Exeter Medical School, joint lead author of the study, said: “This study indicates that frailty and other age-related diseases could be prevented and significantly reduced in older adults. Getting our heart risk factors under control could lead to much healthier old ages. Unfortunately, the current obesity epidemic is moving the older population in the wrong direction, however our study underlines how even small reductions in risk are worthwhile.” The study analysed data from more than 421,000 people aged 60-69 in both GP medical records and in the UK Biobank research study. Participants were followed up over ten years.

Source: Improving heart health could prevent frailty in old age


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