Monthly Archive for: ‘November, 2012’
Chronic diseases associated with all-cause mortality
In middle-aged men from the Seven Countries Study the additional relative risk of death within 15 years varied for seven chronic diseases from 47% for ‘other’ heart disease to 81% for heart attacks.
In older men the additional risk of death for any chronic disease was 95% in Finland, 88% in The Netherlands and 27% in Italy.
The risk of death with an entry class of 3 or more chronic diseases compared to their absence was more than 3 times greater in elderly men from Finland and The Netherlands and 2 times greater in Italy.
These results indicate that the presence of clinically manifest major chronic diseases predicts all-cause mortality and the relation is stronger in northern than in southern Europe.
The scrutinized diseases were heart attack, heart failure, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, other heart disease, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Telomere length not related to all-cause mortality
Longer telomeres at baseline did not predict all-cause and cause specific mortality after 7 years of follow-up in the elderly men cohort from Zutphen. The cross-sectional mean telomere length decreased from 5.03 kbp in the 1993 survey to 4.76 kbp in 2000. Telomere shortening is a marker of ageing that might be related to oxidative stress.
Repeated measures of telomere length
Telomeres are nucleoprotein structures at the end of chromosomes. They prevent chromosomal ends from being recognized as double strand breaks and thus apparently protect them from end to end fusion and degradation.
In elderly, smoking and heart rate predict all-cause mortality
In elderly men from Finland, The Netherlands and Italy, age, smoking and heart rate were positively associated with excess 10-year all-cause mortality. The association of systolic blood pressure with all-cause mortality was marginally significant at 10 years. HDL-cholesterol and body mass index were significantly inversely related to all-cause mortality after 10 years of follow-up but these associations were no longer significant after excluding early deaths (during the first 5 years of follow-up).
These results suggest that smoking and heart rate (an indicator of physical activity and fitness) remain useful risk factors in prediction of all-cause mortality up to old age.
Many cardiovascular risk factors related to all-cause mortality
In the Seven Countries Study age, systolic blood pressure, smoking and serum cholesterol predicted 25-year all-cause mortality in most cohorts. These risk factors were also predictive of 40-year all-cause mortality in the US railroad and the Cretan cohort.
An analysis of the European cohorts showed that systolic blood pressure remained a strong predictor of excess relative risk of all-cause mortality during 35 years of follow-up. The strength of the association declined with increasing follow-up years (ageing) while absolute risk increased greatly with age.
In the rural Italian cohorts other risk factors were also related to 40-year all-cause mortality, namely: mortality of father and mother before age 60, job-related physical activity (inversely related), body mass index (inverse J-shaped), mid-arm circumference (inversely related), lung function (inversely related) and the presence of corneal arcus, xanthalasmata and of any catagory of clinical CVD, diabetes or cancer at entry.
- Menotti et al. Eur J Epidemiol 2001;17:337-46
- Menotti et al. Eur J Epidemiol 2004;19:417-24,
- Menotti et al. J Hypertension 2004;22:1683-90
- Moschandreas et al. Int J Cardiol 2005;100:85-91
- Menotti et al. Aging Clin Exp Res 2005;18:394-406
Cognitive decline associated with mortality
Elderly men from Finland, The Netherlands and Italy (the FINE study) whose cognition declined in the preceding 5 years, had a 2-fold greater risk of dying in the subsequent 5 years. The mortality risk of the men whose cognition improved between 1990 and 1995 was not different from those whose cognition remained stable.
Many factors predict survival
At the start of the mortality follow-up in 1995, the survivors in 2000 were younger, had a better cognitive function, were more physically active and were less disabled. They also had a lower prevalence of heart attacks and cancer than those who died during the 5-year mortality follow-up period.
Disability and depressive symptoms related to all-cause mortality
Self-rated health, disability and depressive symptoms were independent from each other, and were associated with all-cause mortality in elderly men from Finland, The Netherlands and Italy (the FINE study). After adjustment for the prevalence of chronic diseases severity of disability and depressive symptoms remained related to all-cause mortality.
Combinations of measures also associated with all-cause mortality
For the combination of disability and self-rated health a 3-fold greater mortality risk was observed for men who had severe disability and a poor self-rated health compared to the reference group. Men with severe disability in the two highest categories of depressive symptoms had also a 3-fold higher mortality risk.
These results suggest that for adequate prognosis of mortality and for developing intervention strategies information is needed on other and different health outcomes.
Self-rated and physician-rated health associated with mortality
Self-rated health was strongly related to all-cause mortality after 5 and 15 years of follow-up. Physician-rated health was an independent predictor of 15-year all-cause mortality. Self-rated health predicted cancer mortality and physician-rated health predicted cardiovascular mortality. Self-rated health provided information beyond physican-rated health and may help clinicians to optimize the decision-making surrounding treatment, hospital referral and follow-up visits to achieve “patient-centered care”.
Measuring self-rated and physician-rated health
Self-rated health has been identified by the American Institute of Medicine as one of the 20 key indicators valuable in measuring health of populations. In 1985, self-rated health was measured on a four-point scale in the Zutphen Elderly Study. Physician-rated health was evaluated with a five-point scale.
Widowhood associated with disability
Elderly men from Finland, The Netherlands and Italy who became widowed during 10 years of observation had a 2-fold greater risk of disabilities related to instumental activities or mobility than those who did not lose their wives. Widowed men living alone had 75% fewer mobility-related disabilities and 98% fewer basic activities-related disability than those living with other adults. The associations among countries did not differ.
Observations among widowed men
In elderly men of the FINE study, duration of widowhood more or less than 5 years was studied according to household composition: living alone, with family, or in an institution. Standardized questionnaires were used for measuring different Activities of Daily Living.
Physical activity relates to lower risk of disability
Elderly European men with a high level of physical activity at entry had a 54% lower risk of subsequent disability compared to men with a low activity level. This was related to the length of time the physical activities were caried out and not to their intensity.
The results suggest that even in old age among relatively healthy men, a physically active lifestyle protects against disability and the duration of such activities appeared more important than their intensity.
Measuring physical activity and disability
Different aspects of physical activity and disability were investigated in the FINE study of elderly men from Finland, Italy and The Netherlands, with 10 years of follow-up. Information on self-reported physical activity was based on a validated questionnaire on activities such as walking, biking and gardening. Self-reported disabilities were evaluated with the WHO-questionnaire on Activities of Daily Living.
Cardiovascular risk factors associated with disability.
Elderly men from Zutphen were divided at baseline in those with a high cardiovascular risk, defined as 2 or more of the following traditional cardiovascular risk factors: obesity, smoking, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes and a low-risk group with less than 2 risk factors. Men at baseline with a high cardiovascular risk had compared to those with a low risk a 2-fold or greater risk of functional disabilities after 5, 10 or 15 years. These results suggest that elevated cardiovascular risk factor might prevent or postpone disability.
Design of the study
In the Zutphen Elderly Study, traditional cardiovascular risk factors measured in 1985 were evaluated in relation to information on self-reported disabilities collected in 1990, 1995 and 2000.