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Lower weight, diabetes, and heart disease can worsen quality of life for frail older women

American Geriatrics Society

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IMAGE: This research summary was developed as a public education tool by the Health in Aging Foundation. The Foundation is a national non-profit established in 1999 by the American Geriatrics Society... view more

Credit: (C) 2016, Health in Aging Foundation

Researchers writing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently learned that older women who are frail, and who have six or more chronic health conditions, are twice as likely to have a lower quality of life compared to women with less than three risk factors.

Frailty is a condition associated with aging that boosts risks of poor health, falls, disability, and death. Signs of frailty include weakness, weight loss, slower walking speed, exhaustion, and low activity levels. Though frail older adults can develop age-related problems, many can still maintain a good quality of life as they age.

The research team examined data from 11,070 frail women, aged 65 to 84, who were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. They found that the following risk factors can worsen a frail woman's quality of life and raise the risk for death:

The researchers suggested that managing chronic health problems well may help older, frail women enjoy a better quality of life.

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This summary is from "Identification of Risk Factors for Mortality and Low-Quality-of-Life Survival in Frail Older Women Participating in Women's Health Initiative Observational Study". It appears online ahead of print in the April 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The study authors are Oleg Zaslavsky, PhD; Nancy F. Woods, PhD; Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD; Jane A. Cauley, DrPH; Karen C. Johnson, MD, MPH; Barbara B. Cochrane, PhD; and Shira Zelber Sagi, PhD.

About the Health in Aging Foundation

This research summary was developed as a public education tool by the Health in Aging Foundation. The Foundation is a national non-profit established in 1999 by the American Geriatrics Society to bring the knowledge and expertise of geriatrics healthcare professionals to the public. We are committed to ensuring that people are empowered to advocate for high-quality care by providing them with trustworthy information and reliable resources. Last year, we reached nearly 1 million people with our resources through HealthinAging.org. We also help nurture current and future geriatrics leaders by supporting opportunities to attend educational events and increase exposure to principles of excellence on caring for older adults. For more information or to support the Foundation's work, visit http://www.HealthinAgingFoundation.org.

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