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Mortality Index Test can Predict the Chance of Death in Older Patients

by Bidita Debnath on March 10, 2013 at 8:15 PM
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 Mortality Index Test can Predict the Chance of Death in Older Patients

A 'mortality index' can help predict chances for dying within 10 years for patients aged 50 and older. This index consists of a 12-item list of health questions.

Getting winded walking several blocks, smoking, and having trouble pushing a chair across the room are some of the bad signs that can increase your chances of dying by 2023, according to the "mortality index" developed by San Francisco researchers.

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The study researchers pointed out that the index is mostly for use by doctors and can help them decide whether costly health screenings or medical procedures are worth the risk for patients unlikely to live 10 more years, News.com.au reported.

It's best to take the test with a doctor, who can discuss what the score means in the context of patients' own medical history, they said.

"The index wasn't meant as guidance about how to alter your lifestyle," said lead author Dr. Marisa Cruz of the University of California, San Francisco.
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The 12 items on the index are assigned points; fewer total points means better odds.

The highest, or worst, score is a 26, with a 95 per cent chance of dying within 10 years.

A score of zero means a 3 per cent chance of dying within 10 years.

In older age, being overweight would be less risky than being of normal weight or slim.

One possible reason is that thinness in older age could be a sign of illness, said lead author Dr. Marisa Cruz of the University of California, San Francisco.

The researchers created the index by analysing data on almost 20,000 Americans over 50 who took part in a national health survey in 1998. They tracked the participants for 10 years. Nearly 6,000 participants died during that time.

Dr Stephan Fihn, a University of Washington professor of medicine and health quality measurement specialist with Veterans Affairs health services in Seattle, said the index seems valid and "methodologically sound."

The findings were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Source: ANI
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