Frailty Index as a Major Indicator of Aging Processes and Mortality in Elderly: Results From Analyses of the National Long Term Care Survey Data

Journal Article

To better understand mortality change with age capturing the variability in individuals' rates of aging, we performed comprehensive analysis of statistical properties of a cumulative index of age-associated disorders (deficits), called a "frailty index" (FI). This index is calculated as the proportion of the health deficits in an individual. It is found, first, that frequency, time-to-death, mortality-rate, and relative-risk-of-death exhibit remarkably similar FI- and age- patterns. Second, the FI, on the one hand, and mortality rate and relative risk, on the other hand, also exhibit similar age patterns with accelerated increase up to oldest-old ages and with subsequent deceleration and even decline. Third, distribution of the FI with time-to-death is sharper than that of age with time-to-death. These and related findings support the conclusion that the FI can describe aging processes and population heterogeneity. We also discuss the ability of the FI to capture physiological processes underlying aging both on individual and population levels.

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Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kulminski, A; Yashin, A; Akushevich, I; Ukraintseva, S; Land, K; Arbeev, K; Manton, K