Risk Factors of Progression to Frailty
Objectives: To investigate risk factors of incident physical frailty. Design: A population-based observational longitudinal study. Setting: Community-dwelling elderly with age 55 years and above recruited from 2009 through 2011 in the second wave Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study-2 (SLAS-2) were followed up 3-5 years later. Participants: A total of 1297 participants, mean age of 65.6 ±0.19, who were free of physical frailty. Measurements: Incident frailty defined by three or more criteria of the physical phenotype used in the Cardiovascular Health Study was determined at follow-up. Potential risk factors assessed at baseline included demographic, socioeconomic, medical, psychological factors, and biochemical markers. Results: A total of 204 (15.7%) participants, including 81 (10.87%) of the robust and 123 (22.28%) of the prefrail transited to frailty at follow-up. Age, no education, MMSE score, diabetes, prediabetes and diabetes, arthritis, ≥5 medications, fair and poor self-rated health, moderate to high nutritional risk (NSI ≥3), Hb (g/dL), CRP (mg/L), low B12, low folate, albumin (g/L), low total cholesterol, adjusted for sex, age and education, were significantly associated (p<0.05) with incident frailty. In stepwise selection models, age (year) (OR=1.07, 95%CI=1.03-1.10, p<0.001), albumin (g/L) (OR=0.85, 95%CI=0.77-0.94, p=0.002), MMSE score (OR=0.88, 95%CI=0.78-0.98, p=0.02), low folate (OR=3.72, 95%CI=1.17-11.86, p=0.03, and previous hospitalization (OR=2.26, 95%CI=1.01-5.04,p=0.05) were significantly associated with incident frailty. Conclusions: The study revealed multiple modifiable risk factors, especially related to poor nutrition, for which preventive measures and early management could potentially halt or delay the development of frailty.