Association Between Cardiovascular Risk and Perceived Fatigability in Mid-to-Late Life

Yujia Qiao, Pablo Martinez-Amezcua, Amal A. Wanigatunga, Jacek K. Urbanek, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Luigi Ferrucci, Jennifer A. Schrack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and fatigue commonly co-occur in older adults, yet the subjective nature of fatigue and its situational dependence leave the true magnitude of this association undefined. Methods and Results: Six-hundred and twenty-five participants with no history of CVD (aged 68.1+12.0 years), from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging who underwent ≥2 clinic visits between 2007 and 2015 were classified according to sex-specific predicted 10-year CVD risk scores using the Framingham CVD risk score (Framingham) and the Pooled Cohort Equation at baseline. Perceived fatigability was assessed using the Borg rating of perceived exertion scale after a 5-minute treadmill walk (0.67 m/s, 0% grade). Linear models were used to assess the association between baseline CVD risk and perceived fatigability an average of 4.5 years later, adjusted for demographics, behaviors, and medical history. In final models, a 5% higher baseline Pooled Cohort Equation score was associated with greater perceived fatigability at follow-up (β=0.13 rating of perceived exertion, P=0.008). Stratified analyses suggested this association was stronger among those aged ≤70 years and those with obesity. Of the individual CVD risk score components, older age was most strongly associated with perceived fatigability (β=0.48, P<0.001), followed by women (β=0.11, P=0.002), and treated hypertension (β=0.11, P=0.003). There was no association with the Framingham risk score. Conclusions: Perceived fatigability was higher among participants with greater CVD risk measured using the Pooled Cohort Equation risk score. The strong associations with hypertension and obesity suggest prevention and promotion of cardiovascular health may also lower perceived fatigability, particularly among those aged ≤70 years or living with obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere013049
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 20 2019


  • cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • cardiovascular risk
  • fatigability
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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