Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Anemia is risk factor for physical decline in older adults

25.07.2003


Older adults with anemia are twice as likely to have a significant decline in physical performance that could threaten their independence, report researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in the current issue of the American Journal of Medicine.



"Our results suggest that anemia is an independent risk factor for physical decline, which puts older adults at higher risk for nursing home admission, disability and death," said Brenda Penninx, Ph.D., associate professor of gerontology. "Future research should explore whether the treatment of late-life anemia helps preserve physical function."

Researchers measured whether anemia was related to physical performance over a four-year period. Anemia, which is a reduced level of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, affects about 13 percent of people over age 70. It has a variety of causes, from iron or vitamin B-12 deficiencies to chronic diseases such as cancer or liver disease.


The study involved 1,146 adults age 71 and older. The researchers measured physical performance using tests of standing balance, walking speed and ability to rise from a chair. Previous studies illustrated that these tests can predict the likelihood of nursing home admission, mortality, hospitalization and later disability.

Penninx and colleagues found that in participants with anemia, the mean decline in physical performance was 2.3 points on a 12-point scale. For those without anemia, the mean decline was 1.4 points.

"Participants with anemia were 2.1 times more likely than non-anemic subjects to decline substantially in performance, which we defined as a three-point decline over four years," said Penninx. "Subjects with borderline anemia were 1.5 times more likely to have a substantial decline."

A three-point, or 25 percent, decline in physical performance has been shown to increase the risk of hospitalization by 150 percent, the risk of nursing home administration by 200 percent and the risk of disability by 400 percent.

"This finding demonstrates that anemia is often associated with high risk of decline of health and well-being in older individuals, and suggests that treating anemia may slow down this process" says Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., a co-author of the study and Director of the National Institute of Aging’s Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. "It also highlights the need for additional study of other factors that may be associated with physical decline among older people."

Penninx said the relationship between anemia and physical decline was also present in people without diseases associated with anemia, such as cancer and kidney failure – showing that anemia itself is a risk factor – not just the underlying disease. The researchers also adjusted for other factors that might affect the results, such as age, sex, cigarette smoking and blood pressure, and found that anemia is an independent risk factor.

The researchers hypothesize that anemia may affect physical function because it causes people to feel weak, increasing the chance of falling. Because it reduces oxygen levels in the blood, muscle weakness may result. In addition, anemia may cause blood vessels to dilate to compensate for lower oxygen levels. This can cause changes to the cardiovascular system, including congestive heart failure. Anemia is typically a result of cancer or kidney disease or other conditions. But, about 30 percent of cases in older adults are not related to underlying conditions and are not linked to nutrition, said Penninx. She said anemia is a condition that is relatively unexplored by researchers.

"Our research suggests that anemia deserves more attention," said Penninx. "It seems to be an important risk factor for physical decline and is potentially treatable. We need to learn whether treatment can help restore physical function or prevent a physical decline." The data was collected as part of the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, Data analyses were supported through Ortho Biotech Products, L.P.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water cooling for the Earth's crust

23.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nano-watch has steady hands

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Batteries with better performance and improved safety

23.11.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>