Frailty: What Is It?

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020:1216:1-7. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-33330-0_1.


Over the past decades, a progressive and exponential aging of the population has been observed. In particular, an absolute e relative increase of old and very old persons is also projected for the next 30 years. This demographic phenomenon is substantially responsible for the growing prevalence of frailty in our societies. Frailty is a clinical condition characterized by an excessive vulnerability of the individual to endogenous and exogenous stressors. This status generates a high risk of developing negative health-related events. Shifting to a construct as frailty to biologically define the perimeter of action for geriatric medicine will probably concur at modernizing the old way of practicing medicine. In this chapter the concept of frailty, its impact on the evolving healthcare systems, the controversies associated with its assessment and, ultimately, the role it plays in the management of older persons are discussed.

Keywords: Ageing; Elderly; Frailty; Geriatric assessment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Frailty / diagnosis*
  • Frailty / physiopathology*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans