Feeling Tired? Watch Out, It May Predict How Soon You Will Die!
As we get older, it's natural to tire more easily, but new research suggests it might be unwise to overlook heavy eyelids.
We all experience exhaustion at times, feeling washed out, lethargic, dog-tired. Typically, we dismiss this as due to lack of sleep, struggling to meet deadlines, or failing to pace ourselves as we get older – however, it might be mortally unwise to do so.
Perceived physical fatigability can be used as an indicator of earlier mortality, according to research published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences by University of Pittsburgh epidemiologists.
Validation of Perceived Mental Fatigability Using the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale. #geriatrics https://t.co/nyHr8cAdMT pic.twitter.com/Z9oZEp9u8m— JAGS (@AGSJournal) January 26, 2021
The team of scientists applied the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale to 2,906 participants in the Long Life Family Study, aged 60 or older, which followed family members across two generations.
CC BY 2.0 / Marco Verch Professional Photographer / Disappointed and tired womanDisappointed and tired woman laid her head down on the table
Disappointed and tired woman laid her head down on the table
The team of researchers asked participants to rank from 0 to 5 exactly how tired they felt after certain activities. The bouts of activity ranged from a leisurely 30-minute walk and light housework to a spot of heavy gardening, like digging.
After taking into account a variety of factors such as depression, pre-existing conditions, terminal illness, age and gender, the team discovered 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.
“This is the time of year when people make – and break – New Year’s resolutions to get more physical activity. I hope our findings provide some encouragement to stick with exercise goals. Previous research indicates that getting more physical activity can reduce a person’s fatigability. Our study is the first to link more severe physical fatigability to an earlier death. Conversely, lower scores indicate greater energy and more longevity,” said lead author Nancy W. Glynn, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health.
Follow-up for the study was intentionally wrapped up at the end of 2019, to avoid increased mortality impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Glynn added that one of the best ways to increase physical activity was by “setting manageable goals and starting a routine, like a regular walk or scheduled exercise.”
20 September 2020, 17:30 GMT
The Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale had been created by Glynn and colleagues in 2014 and has since been translated into 11 languages.
The epidemiologist underscored that by reducing fatigability, one can “change how they feel, potentially motivating them to do more.”