Calculate your risk of dying in the next five years 48



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None of us likes to think about dying, but maybe we should – especially if we can do something to lessen the risk. Thankfully, we can – thanks to more and more research into mortality predictors.

A recent study in The Lancet medical journal, called 5 year mortality predictors in 498 103 UK Biobank participants: a prospective population-based study, collected measurements from nearly half a million UK volunteers aged 40 to 70.

It is the first study to investigate such a large number of variables as well as examine different causes of death and to involve such a large number of participants.

A website – – has been set up to showcase the results of the study, which was conducted by Andrea Ganna and Erik Ingelsson. It also includes an online risk calculator based on the findings that you can use to check your own risk.

The findings show how  accurately a variable can predict death within five years.

Using data in this way revealed five key results.

  1.  The variables that most accurately predicted death from all causes within five years did not need to be measured by physical examination, but could be reported by individuals in response to a questionnaire. For example, asking people to rate their overall health (self-reported health) and to describe their usual walking pace were two of the strongest predictors in both men and women for different causes of death.
  2. The variables that were most accurate at predicting death differed between men and women. For example, the strongest predictor in men was ‘self-reported health’, whereas in women, it was ‘previous cancer diagnosis’.
  3. When Andrea and Erik examined only individuals who didn’t have any major diseases, measurements of smoking habits were the strongest predictors of death within five years.
  4. Psychological and socioeconomic variables were the strongest predictors of external cause mortality, which means, for example suicide and accidentally falling.
  5. They also found that most variables were less accurate at predicting mortality in older individuals compared with those who were younger, but still within the 40-70 age range.

The data allowed Andrea and Erik to a create a risk calculator that could use questionnaire answers to predict an individual’s risk of dying within five years.

They used a computer-based approach to automatically select the combination of questions that gave the most accurate prediction of death within five years.

The calculator can use this prediction score to calculate an estimate of an individual’s ‘Ubble age’. You can take the test here.

If your Ubble age is higher than your actual age, you have a higher risk of dying within five years than the average person of your age in the UK. Conversely, if your Ubble age is lower than your actual age, you have a lower risk than the average person of your age.

The researchers hope publishing the findings on the Ubble websites will improve the awareness of individuals about their own health.

What do you think of the findings? Will you check your own ‘Ubble age’ and look at some of the mortality indicators that it might be within your power to change through exercise or diet?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. we are getting older but none of us wants to be talking of death right now, we will worry about that when we die

    4 REPLY
    • I think it’s a conversation everyone needs to have. Be clear about what you want, how you’d like your last days to be spent etc. Death is part of life, and there are practicalities that, if not addressed, might well cause a lot of distress later.

    • sorry Robyn but it is not a topic I want to discuss, my wife has terminal cancer, online is supposed to be an escape for me

    • Thoughts are with you David, We nursed my Mum through that and you are right in needing an escape on here.

  2. I decided to do this and was told I am 52 ( actually 62 ) and have a 1.2% chance of dying in the next 5 years – so it is not bad news at all !!!

  3. Absolutely no way would I do the test, I just want to live the life I was blessed with no matter how long or short that maybe, we all know we have to die at some time so just have as much fun as you can while your here.

  4. My risk of dyimg is very high si,ply cos i was born .Too many people worry bout dying ,its gonna happen,just consern you self with living

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