J Korean Geriatr Soc.  2010 Mar;14(1):1-7.

Frailty: A Core Geriatric Concept

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea. kikim907@snu.ac.kr


Frailty, a progressive physiologic decline in multiple body systems, is defined as a state of increased vulnerability to the stress that carries an increased risk of disability, hospitalization, functional decline, and mortality in older adults. Frailty is a new and emerging syndrome in the field of geriatrics. With the advance of population aging, frail elderly continue to increase and frail older adults are among the most challenging for medical management. Contrary to popular belief, frailty is not present in all elderly persons, which suggests that it is associated with aging but not an inevitable process of aging and may be prevented or treated. Common signs and symptoms of frailty are fatigue, weight loss, muscle weakness, slowness, and low activity. The purpose of this article is to review what is known about frailty, including the definition, epidemiology, pathophysiology, and to examine potential areas of future research.


Frailty; Elderly; Geriatric syndrome
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