Saturday, December 21, 2013

Human lameness

I've often been jealous of my veterinary colleagues who get to use the term "lame" to describe a variety of physical illness/diseases that usually afflict older animals.

There's finally a human equivalent: Frail.

Frailty is an important medical syndrome that occurs as a result of a range of diseases and medical conditions. A consensus group agreed on the following: it has multiple causes and contributors and is characterized by diminished strength, endurance, and reduced physiologic function that increase an individual’s vulnerability for developing increased dependency and/or death.

Two commonly used and validated tools are:

The FRAIL tool:

The FRAIL tool asks five questions and those who answer yes to at least three likely are frail.
·         Fatigue: Are you fatigued?
·         Resistance: Do you have difficulty walking up one flight of steps?
·         Aerobic: Are you unable to walk at least one block?
·         Illness: Do you have more than five illnesses?
·         Loss of weight: Have you lost more than 5 percent of your weight in the past six months?

And the Clinical Frailty Scale:

The four things that are currently identified as being able to potentially improve physical frailty include exercise, protein-calorie supplementation, Vitamin D (when low), and the reduction of polypharmacy.

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