Allostatic load as a predictor of all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the general population: Evidence from the Scottish Health Survey
by Tony Robertson, Gayle Beveridge, Catherine BromleyAllostatic load is a multiple biomarker measure of physiological ‘wear and tear’ that has shown some promise as marker of overall physiological health, but its power as a risk predictor for mortality and morbidity is less well known. This study has used data from the 2003 Scottish Health Survey (SHeS) (nationally representative sample of Scottish population) linked to mortality records to assess how well allostatic load predicts all-cause and cause-specific mortality. From the sample, data from 4,488 men and women were available with mortality status at 5 and 9.5 (rounded to 10) years after sampling in 2003. Cox proportional hazard models estimated the risk of death (all-cause and the five major causes of death in the population) according to allostatic load score. Multiple imputation was used to address missing values in the dataset. Analyses were also adjusted for potential confounders (sex, age and deprivation). There were 258 and 618 deaths over the 5-year and 10-year follow-up period, respectively. In the fully-adjusted model, higher allostatic load (poorer physiological ‘health’) was not associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality after 5 years (HR = 1.07, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.22; p = 0.269), but it was after 10 years (HR = 1.08, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.16; p = 0.026). Allostatic load was not associated with specific causes of death over the same follow-up period. In conclusions, greater physiological wear and tear across multiple physiological systems, as measured by allostatic load, is associated with an increased risk of death, but may not be as useful as a predictor for specific causes of death.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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