LONDON – The question of when we’ll die is a fascinating one, but no one really knows the answer. Thanks to researchers who made this happen. Many of us wonder when exactly we will bite the dust; most of us are glad that there really isn’t a way of knowing.
Researchers in England headed up a project called UK Biobank and the goal was to create a “Risk Calculator,” a questionnaire based on the variables that have the strongest associations with death within 5 years.
A doctor’s exam was not necessary to predict death. A questionnaire that asked people to rate their overall health and average walking pace, among other things, proved to be a valuable tool.
The variables that were most accurate for predicting death was an assessment of their “self-reported health” for men and a previous cancer diagnosis in women. In most people who didn’t have a major disease, smoking habits were the strongest predictors of death within 5 years. Weight, diet and drinking are not even mentioned in the test. The most powerful inquiry is about general health.
According to research published in” The Lancet” health journal, your 5 year mortality risk boils down to one score, determined by your own answers to a questionnaire related to your self-rated health, and typical walking speed. The test requires no physical exam to determine your age.
By examining the UK Bio bank’s data from 2006 to 2010 containing information from 500,000 adults between ages 40 and 70, Professor Ingelsson and Dr. Andrea Ganna were able to create a scoring system. Using a statistical survival model, both researchers determined the probability of death by any cause, as well as six specific causes for 655 specific demographics, lifestyles and health measurements.
As a result, researchers were able to determine what components were stronger indicators of higher mortality risk, and tailored their questions accordingly.
As Ganna mentions, the score does not serve to scare or intimidate, but to keep individuals on a healthy track, and alert their physicians to possible concerns.
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