Indexed on: 28 Sep '06Published on: 28 Sep '06Published in: Gerontology
Little is known about the relationship between high-level functional capacity and mortality in elderly people.To evaluate the relationship between high-level functional capacity, such as intellectual activity and social role, and 4-year mortality in a population of 80-year-old community residents.Participating in the study were 697 individuals (277 males and 420 females) out of 1,282 80-year-old individuals residing in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. To measure high-level functional capacity, the daily activities of 656 of the 697 participants were examined through questionnaires, accompanied by physical and laboratory blood examinations. The 697 participants were followed up for 4 years after the baseline examination. For subjects who died during that period, the date and cause of death were recorded from resident registration cards and official death certificates.The relative risk for all-cause mortality decreased with an increase in intellectual activity or total functional capacity, whereas no association was found between total mortality and either the ability to perform instrumental self-maintenance or the ability to maintain a social role. Similarly, the relative mortality risk due to cardiovascular diseases decreased with an increase in intellectual activity or total functional capacity. Mortality due to pneumonia also decreased with an increase in intellectual activity.In a population of 80-year-old community residents, levels of intellectual activity and total functional capacity may be associated with all-cause, cardiovascular, and pneumonia mortality, and may be strong predictors of survival.