Episode015. Frailty … what does it even mean?

Frailty is a hot topic with aging Canadians

Our doctors discuss frailty amongst each other but we rarely provide insights to our clients about what we mean when we say that a person is frail. Frailty can be a big concern. Persons who are considered frail are vulnerable. If you get nothing else from the podcast, that is the take home message. When we are vulnerable to different things or stressors, we just don’t have the resiliency. What that means is we get sick more easily or more often. Things that probably would have been no big deal before could throw us into the hospital.

There are two lines of thinking when it comes to determining if a person is frail. Although to be honest, most doctors and physiotherapists will probably make a judgment based on what they see. But I digress.

The two lines of thinking are the Accumulation of Deficits hypothesis and the Physical Phenotype. I talked about this briefly in a FAQ video that you can find here. In the podcast we go more in depth.

The Physical Phenotype of Frailty

For me, this is the one that makes the most sense to me. It is a group of “symptoms” that give us the idea that a person might be frail.

These five things are

  • Low physical activity or activity in general
  • Being tired all the time or having a hard time getting going
  • Losing weight without meaning to
  • Low muscle strength
  • Slow walking speed

The Accumulation of Deficits

This hypothesis essentially says that as the more troubles we have health-wise goes us, so does our risk of being frail.  This is more by looking at a medical chart and trying to determine a persons risk for other issues and complications.

As I mention in the podcast, I talk a bit more about the technical side of this on my Facebook page. If you’re interested in that you can like it by clicking this link 

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Christina Prevett

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