Background: Evidence suggests a possible bidirectional connection between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the frailty syndrome in older people.
Purpose: To verify the relationship between CVD risk factors and the frailty syndrome in community-dwelling elderly.
Methods: This population-based study used data from the Fragilidade em Idosos Brasileiros (FIBRA) Network Study, a cross-sectional study designed to investigate frailty profiles among Brazilian older adults. Frailty status was defined as the presence of three or more out of five of the following criteria: unintentional weight loss, weakness, self-reported fatigue, slow walking speed, and low physical activity level. The ascertained CVD risk factors were self-reported and/or directly measured hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, waist circumference measurement, and smoking.
Results: Of the 761 participants, 9.7% were characterized as frail, 48.0% as pre-frail, and 42.3% as non-frail. The most prevalent CVD risk factor was hypertension (84.4%) and the lowest one was smoking (10.4%). It was observed that among those participants with four or five risk factors there was a higher proportion of frail and pre-frail compared with non-frail (Fisher's exact test: P=0.005; P=0.021). Self-reported diabetes mellitus was more prevalent among frail and pre-frail participants when compared with non-frail participants (Fisher's exact test: P≤0.001; P≤0.001). There was little agreement between self-reported hypertension and hypertension identified by blood pressure measurement.
Conclusion: Hypertension was highly prevalent among the total sample. In addition, frail and pre-frail older people corresponded to a substantial proportion of those with more CVD risk factors, especially diabetes mellitus, highlighting the need for preventive strategies in order to avoid the co-occurrence of CVD and frailty.
Keywords: aged; cardiovascular disease; frailty syndrome; hypertension.