Sunday, February 26, 2006

Calculate your chance of dying

The Journal of American Medical Association published, on the 15th of February 2005, a thought provoking article by Dr Sei Lee. He had conducted a survey in 1998 on 11,701 patients. Using the data, he then statistically modelled a persons risk of dying over four years, depending on 12 important risk factors. These 12 risk factors are given risk weightage. At the end of the risk assessment, the total number of points accumulated is then used to tell you the risk of dying over 4 years.

Let us take a look at the model (it is interesting). The 12 risk factors and their weightage are :

1. Age :
60-64 yrs - 1point
65-69yrs - 2 points
70-74 yrs - 3 points
75-79yrs - 4 points
80-84 yrs - 5 year
>85 yrs - 7 points.

2. Sex : Male - 2 point,

3. BMI :
Below 25 - 1 point

4. Diabetes: 2 points.

5. Cancer: 2 points.

6. Requires oxygen use at home: 2 points.

7. Congestive heart failure: 2 points.

8. Cigarette smoking in the past week: 2 points.

9. Difficulty bathing/showering because of a health or memory problem: 2 points.

10. Difficulty managing money, paying bills, keeping track of expenses because of a health or memory problem: 2 points.

11. Difficulty walking several blocks because of a health problem: 2 points.

12. Difficulty pushing or pulling large objects like a living room chair because of a health problem: 1 point.

0 to 5 points - Less than 4% risk
6-9 points - 15 %
10-13 points - 42%
greater than 14 - 64%

Well those are the details, if you wish to calculate your own risk. I score 2 points, so I should be OK in the next 4 years. But is this what we should learn from this fine piece of work? We could learn a few other lessons. We could learn that these are important factors that would affect our health and well being as we gray, and lose our hair. Take note of the risk factors and prevent some of them if possible, eg. cigarette smoking, lose weight, and diabetes. Maintain good physical fitness through regular exercise. Know the negative factors and prevent them and stay healthy. We also learn that we should do the mentioned everyday activity like walking a few blocks, and also note that mental health is as important as physical health. Maintaining good memory is as important as maintaining physical fitness. Basically, note the risk ahead and do your best to avoid them. All the best for your next 4 years, and all future 4 years.

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