Frailty: A Condition of the Elderly

1460 WordsFeb 17, 20186 Pages
Frailty Introduction ‘Frailty thy name is woman' emotionally refers to his mother 'Hamlet' (Act 1, Scene 2). While the term “frailty” has been around for a while, the use of it in a medical literature has only been evolving in the past 30 years. However, condition with similar meaning, was described back in 1914 in a publication “The Diseases of Old Age and their Treatment” (Nascher, 1914). In this publication Nascher describes a condition of his elderly patients as “senile disability” or “senile cachexia” manifesting in general physical weakness and mental impairments as a result of the aging process. Later, several authors use term “Failure to Thrive” while describing a multifactorial state of decline in elderly (Kimball et al., 1995; Robertson et al., 2004; Sarkisian et al., 1996). The search term “frail elderly” in PubMed.gov generated 8384 results indicating great interest by clinicians and researchers in this topic. However, despite the interest there is considerable uncertainty regarding the concept and definition of frailty (Bergman et al., 2007). Frailty is “one of those complex terms – like independence, life satisfaction, and continuity – that trouble gerontologists with multiple and slippery meanings” (Kaufman, 1994). Since there is no one accepted operational definition of frailty, it is impossible to enumerate frail persons in the population. Therefore, prevalence of frailty varies widely depending on its definitions and patient selection. One European
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