Giving up on smoking early may potentially prevent or delay developing weakness, even in old age, suggests new research. The study was published in the journal Age & Ageing, which showed that current smoking was linked with an approximately 605 increased risk of developing weakness in old age. Frailty is a condition associated with decreased physiological reserve and increased vulnerability to adverse health outcomes. The results include falls, fractures, disability, hospitalisation and institutionalisation.
Frailty is also linked to worse psychological or cognitive outcomes, like poor quality of life and dementia.
"Our study showed that current smoking is a risk factor of developing frailty," said one of the study authors Gotaro Kojima of University College London.
Smoking increases the risk of developing a number of diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. All these health conditions have negative effects on people’s physical, mental and social health.
"Additional analyses revealed that COPD seems a main factor on the causal pathway from smoking towards frailty, but those who quit smoking did not carry over the risk of frailty," Kojima said.
COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases.The researchers used data from a nationally representative sample of older men and women living in England.
They defined frailty using a combination of five physical frailty components -- unintentional weight loss, self-reported exhaustion, weakness, slow walking speed, and low physical activity. Frailty was classified as having three or more of the five criteria.
The current study used data of participants who were aged 60 years or older. The final sample for this study was 2,542 participants, divided into two groups -- current smokers and non-smokers.
The non-smokers were further divided into another two groups: past smokers and never smokers. The past smokers were once again divided into two groups: Those who quit within the last 10 years and those who quit more than 10 years ago. The study also revealed that current smoking in older people was linked to the risk of developing frailty. Though former smokers didn’t seem to be at higher risk.
(With IANS Inputs)
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