Doctors claim to have found a way to predict a person’s risk of dying in the next five years – using a simple questionnaire.
With questions on smoking habits and history of illness, but also more nuanced inquiries about the pace of your walk, your attitude to your own health and even how many cars you own, researchers behind the new “Ubble” questionnaire said they could give 40- to 70-year-olds a mortality risk “score”, and even an alternative “Ubble age”: the age at which an average person in the general population has the same five-year mortality risk.
From Thursday, members of the public can log on to the ubble.co.uk website to try the short quiz. The researchers said that while the quiz results should not be viewed as a “deterministic prediction”, it would allow people to understand their own risk without recourse to lab tests or physical examination.
However, other experts said the online test might unduly alarm people and lead to a rise of so-called “cyberchondria”.
The study which provides the basis for the test was published on Thursday in The Lancet medical journal.
The key indicators are:
How old are you?
Do you smoke cigarettes?
Have you smoked in the past and, if so, how often?
How would you rate your health?
How would you describe your usual walking pace?
Has a doctor ever told you have 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?
Women are also asked specific questions such as how many children they have given birth to while men are asked who they live with and whether they have diabetes or have had a heart attack.