How fatigued you are likely to die early: study

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How fatigued you are likely to die early: study

Pittsburgh US January 24 ANI A recent study found that how fatigued certain activities make an older adult feel can estimate that the likely death is less than three years away.

The research was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

It is the first study to determine physical fatigability as an indicator of earlier mortality.

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 compared to their counterparts who scored lower. Fatigability was assessed for a range of activities using the novel Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale.

This is the time of year when people make and break New Year's resolutions to get more physical activity, said lead author Nancy W. Glynn, PhD, associate professor at Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health.

We hope that our findings will encourage you to stick to your exercise goals. Research shows that getting more physical activity can reduce a person's fatigability. Our study is the first to link more severe physical fatigability to earlier death. She added that lower scores indicate greater energy and longer life.

Glynn and her colleagues administered the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale to 2,906 participants aged 60 or older in the Long Life Family Study, an international study that follows family members across two generations. Participants ranged from 0 to 5 how tired they thought or imagined that certain activities - such as a leisurely 30 minute walk, light housework or heavy gardening - would make them more tired.

The follow-up for this work concluded at the end of 2019 to avoid any increased mortality impact due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, which gave the team an average of 2.7 years of data on each participant.

After accounting for a number of factors that influence mortality, such as depression, pre-existing or underlying terminal illness, age and gender, the team found that participants 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.

There is research showing that people who increase their physical activity can decrease their fatigability score, said Glynn, a physical activity epidemiologist.

One of the best ways to increase physical activity is by setting manageable goals and starting a routine, like a regular walk or scheduled exercise, she advised.

Glynn said that the study demonstrated the value of the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale, which she and colleagues created in 2014, beyond tying high fatigability to an earlier death. It has been translated into 11 languages.

The Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale has been widely adopted in research as a reliable, sensitive way to measure fatigability, but it is underutilized in hospital settings and clinical trials, Glynn said.

My ultimate goal is to develop a physical activity intervention targeting a reduction in fatigability as a means to stem the downward spiral of impaired physical function that is common with the ageing process. She said that by reducing fatigability, one can change how they feel, potentially motivating them to do more.