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Study Identifies Factors That Predict Progression to Frailty

Pre-frailty is a precursor to frailty and is present in people who meet one or two of the following criteria: low grip strength, low energy, slowed walking speed, low physical activity, and/or unintentional weight loss. A new study has identified the factors that significantly predict the progression from pre-frail to frail.

The researchers recruited 656 adults with an average age of 60 living in community-dwelling settings. The participants were assessed for frailty using the Fried frailty phenotype. They were classified as not frail (59.2%), pre-frail (39.0%), and frail (1.8%). Participants self-reported demographic data, continence, unintended weight loss, appetite, sleep quality, nutrition, usual activity patterns, and psychological distress. Handgrip strength and walking speed were measured.

Progression from not-frail to pre-frail was found to be closely associated with decreases in balance and functional stability, hearing loss, low BMI, and poor nutrition. The factors that were closely associated with the progression from pre-frail to frail were living alone, poor sleep quality, depression and anxiety, difficulty climbing stairs, and reduced appetite.

The study was conducted by researchers from Flinders University. It was published online ahead of print on March 6, 2020 in the journal BMC Geriatrics.

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