"Frailty" used to be a rather vague description, like "old age." Recently, however, it has been recognized as a cluster of conditions that deserve medical attention.
The signs of frailty are:
- Complaints of weakness or fatigue
- Inability to walk up one flight of stairs
- Inability to walk more than one city block
- More than five chronic diseases
- Unintentional loss of 5% or more body weight in the past six months
Frail individuals over age 70 are more likely to become seriously ill from simple infections. They are more likely to be hospitalized and to become disabled. Not surprisingly, they are more likely to die sooner than their nonfrail peers.