What is Frailty?

It is an age-related syndrome characterized by decreased functional reserve, and it is strongly associated with sarcopenia, since it places older people at risk of disability, hospitalization and death induced by falls.

The aging of the population is a global and constant phenomenon in advanced societies, and constitutes a socio-economic challenge of the first magnitude. Public policies and R & D & I strategies promoted by administrations at the regional, national, European and international levels focus on healthy aging, which includes maintaining a good functional capacity, both physical and cognitive.

Disability worsens the quality of life, increases the risk of hospitalization and death and increases health care costs (Keeler E et al, 2010). The functional disability and dependence of the individual is usually preceded by frailty: a clinically recognizable state characterized by a reduced functional reserve and deterioration of the ability to adapt through multiple physiological systems. This syndrome may precede for several years the development of disability and other clinical adversities such as falls, fractures, functional deterioration, disability, institutionalization and death (Rodriguez-Mañas, 2012). Therefore, frailty syndrome defines vulnerable elderly people who are at high risk of experiencing adverse events. Frailty is a state of pre-disability, a state of functional limitation and also cognitive, social, etc.

The prevalence is high in people over 65, ranging from 7 to 16%, and this number increases with age (Garcia Garcia 2011). Frailty, unlike dependency, is reversible; you can intervene to reverse or slow down its effects; to gain more years with higher quality of life and without dependency in old age.

In the fight against dependency, it is of crucial importance to focus on the detection and treatment of frailty both in hospitals and in the community.

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