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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Frailty transitions in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging

Sara E Espinoza, Inkyung Jung, Helen Hazuda
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2012, 60 (4): 652-60
22316162

OBJECTIVES: To examine frailty transitions in Mexican American (MA) and European American (EA) older adults.

DESIGN: Longitudinal, observational cohort study.

SETTING: Socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods in San Antonio, Texas.

PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred twelve MA and 285 EA community-dwelling older adults (≥ 65) with frailty information at baseline (1992-1996) and transition information at follow-up (2000/01) in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging.

MEASUREMENTS: Five frailty characteristics (weight loss, exhaustion, weakness, slowness, and low physical activity), frailty score (0-5), and overall frailty state (nonfrail = 0 characteristics, prefrail = 1 or 2, frail = ≥ 3) were assessed at baseline. Transitions (progressed, regressed, or no change) were assessed for frailty score and state. Odds ratios (ORs) of progression and regression in individual characteristics were estimated using generalized estimating equations adjusted for age, sex, ethnic group, socioeconomic status, comorbidity, diabetes, and follow-up interval.

RESULTS: Diabetes mellitus with macrovascular complications (OR = 1.84, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.02-3.33), fewer years of education (OR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.93-1.0) and follow-up interval (OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.17-1.46) were significant predictors of progression in any frailty characteristic. Mortality increased with greater frailty state, and prefrail individuals were more likely than frail individuals to regress.

CONCLUSION: Diabetes mellitus with macrovascular complications and fewer years of education are important predictors of progression in any frailty characteristic. Because of greater risk of death than for the nonfrail state and greater likelihood of regression than for the frail state, the prefrail state may be an optimal target for intervention.

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