Will you still be alive in five years? Take the quiz and the “Ubble” index.

Kat Lay reports on the “Ubble” index and your risk of dying in the next 5 years. The calculator gave me an 88% chance of living for 5 years – I can live with thatAs long as it is of sufficiently good quality. Otherwise I personally would like the “Dignitas” option and regard the politicians refusal as a denial of my own autonomy. The Times 4th July 2015. Will you still be alive in five years? Take the quiz 

If you are aged between 40 and 70, a simple list of questions could predict your chances of dying within five years, according to a new study.

Researchers using data from nearly half a million British adults found that the answers to 13 questions for men, and 11 for women, were the best way to forecast survival — proving even more accurate than a physical examination.

The test, from a paper published today in The Lancet and available at www.ubble.co.uk, asks questions such as average walking speed, number of children and how many cars an individual owns.

An algorithm then calculates both the person’s percentage chance of dying within five years and the age at which the average mortality risk in the population is the most similar to the estimated risk of the individual.

The researchers said many of the measures were acting as “proxies” — a slow walking speed, for instance, might indicate an underlying health condition, while, generally speaking, car ownership might indicate affluence.

The authors, Erik Ingelsson and Andrea Ganna, said the tool could be used by individuals who wanted to check their own health status, as well as by doctors to identify high-risk patients.

The data used was collected between 2006 and 2010 from adults who added their data to the UK Biobank. The team looked at 655 measurements, including items such as blood pressure, to see how they predicted death both from any cause and six specific causes.

Professor Ingelsson, from Uppsala University, Sweden, said: “This is the first study of its kind based on a very large study sample, and is not limited to specific populations, single types of risk, or requiring laboratory testing.”

The most powerful predictor of death in men was how they rated their overall health themselves — also among the strongest indicators for women. The strongest factor for women was whether they had ever had a diagnosis of cancer.

Professor Ingellson said: “You probably know yourself the best. Just answering how you feel combines a lot of different aspects — if you have been ill, perhaps how fit you are, how healthily you are eating. That is why it is so predictive.”

Self-reported walking pace was a stronger predictor of death risk for both sexes than smoking habits. All questionnaire answers were far more predictive than physical measures.

Dr Ganna said: “The fact that the score can be measured online in a brief questionnaire, without any need for lab tests or physical examination, is an exciting development. We hope that our score might eventually enable doctors to quickly and easily identify their highest risk patients.”

He stressed: “Of course, the score has a degree of uncertainty and shouldn’t be seen as a deterministic prediction. For most people, a high risk of dying in the next five years can be reduced by increased physical activity, stopping smoking, and a healthy diet.”

Separate research published yesterday suggested that a poor sense of smell might be a predictor of imminent death. Scientists at Columbia University in New York found that people with the poorest sense of smell were more than twice as likely to die in the next four years as those with the keenest.

The key indicators

How old are you?

Do you smoke?

Have you smoked in the past, and if so how often?

How would you rate your health?

Do you have any longstanding illness, disability or infirmity?

Have you ever seen a GP for nerves, anxiety, tension or depression?

How would you describe your usual walking pace?

Have you had cancer?

In the past two years, have you experienced: serious illness, injury or assault to yourself; serious illness, injury or assault of a close relative; death of a close relative; death of a spouse or partner; marital separation; financial difficulties?

Do you receive: attendance allowance; disability living allowance; blue badge?

Questions for men only

How many cars or vans are owned, or available for use, by you or members of your household?

Including yourself, how many people are living in your household?

Has a doctor ever told you that you have diabetes?

Question for women only

How many children have you given birth to?

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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