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 Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht ASU scientists develop new, rapid pipeline for antimicrobials
14.12.2017 | Arizona State University

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>