What is Frailty?
Frailty is often discussed in terms of a phenotype which is a set of observable characteristics of an individual. The frailty phenotype is also called Fried’s Phenotype. Fried’s Phenotype is when three or more of the following characteristics is present in an individual: unintentional weight loss, fatigue, weakness, slow walking speed, and low physical activity1. Frailty causes an individual unable to withstand the stresses of everyday life leading them vulnerable to any stressor including illness or a fall2,3. The frailty phenotype is independently predictive of increase incidence of falls, worsening mobility, activities of daily living disability, hospitalization, and death1. Individuals may become frail for various reasons including trauma, chronic pain, decreasing physical activity, or even experiencing chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes2. Frailty is not a normal part of aging3. Good news! The earlier stage of frailty is preventable and reversible; therefore, early recognition by a health care provider is essential3. “Prefrail” is a condition between being healthy and frailty where individuals are at risk for progressing to frailty3. Your physical therapist is the perfect health care provider to intervene at this stage of “prefrail”. The following are characteristics you should look out for when it comes to frailty:
Physical therapists are the best health providers to assess for frailty and create a plan of care to intervene in the areas that put you at risk. The foundation of Live Your Life is to help our clients reach their maximum potential. If you are looking to reduce your risk of frailty or even to improve your current fitness level, contact us today to learn how we can meet your needs and achieve your goals for function and wellness.
1Fried LP, Tangen CM, Walston J, et al. Frailty in older adults: evidence for a phenotype. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2001;56(3):M146-M156. doi:10.1093/gerona/56.3.m146
2Guide | Physical Therapy Guide to Frailty. Choose PT. Published August 26, 2021. https://www.choosept.com/guide/physical-therapy-guide-frailty
3Cabrera J. Physical Therapist Management of a Person with Frailty Across the Continuum. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation. 2023; 39(2): p 131-148. doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000391.