Pain is one of the most common and expensive health problems in the U.S. In older adults, chronic pain can lead to frailty. This can mean anything from unintentional weight loss to slowness, weakness, and exhaustion.
In the U.S., pain may be a bigger problem for older Hispanics, who make up the nation’s fastest growing segment of older adults. They have a higher risk of diabetes, obesity, and disability—which are all risk factors for pain. They also tend to have less access to medical care and to health information or support.
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health tracked 3,000 older Mexican American adults from 1995 to 2013. One important finding was that those who suffered from pain were 1.7 times more likely to become frail. In addition, people in the study who were older, were depressed, had hip fractures, and had difficulty with daily tasks were also more likely to become frail.
Researchers want to learn more about the link between pain and frailty in Mexican Americans. They hope that this information will help provide better health support earlier in life to this population and Hispanic Americans more generally.