If you’ve ever wondered whether you’re likely to still be alive 10 years from now, a new test can give you a clue. It’s called the "Mortality Index." It was developed at UC San Francisco for people 50 and up. And it’s designed to help doctors decide whether pursue costly tests, surgery, or aggressive treatments like chemo if the patient’s likely to die before the disease becomes a problem.
For example – you get points for things like your age, weight, whether you smoke, and what diseases you’ve been diagnosed with, as well as whether you get winded walking several blocks, or can push a heavy chair across the room. The lower the score, the longer you’re likely to live.
For example, an overweight 60-year-old man with diabetes would score a 5 – which gives him good odds of survival. He gets 2 points just for being a man – since men die earlier than women. He gets a point for being 60. Another for being overweight. And one more for his diabetes.
But if you’ve got the maximum – which is 26 points – the experts say you’ll almost definitely be dead within a decade.
If you’re interested in assessing your own future, you can find the test at UCSF.edu.
But the test’s designers recommend taking your test results to your doctor. So you can discuss what your score means before you freak out.