Recent trends in chronic disease, impairment and disability among older adults in the United States

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Abstract

Background: To examine concurrent prevalence trends of chronic disease, impairment and disability among older adults. Methods. We analyzed the 1998, 2004 and 2008 waves of the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative survey of older adults in the United States, and included 31,568 community dwelling adults aged 65 and over. Measurements include: prevalence of chronic diseases including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease and arthritis; prevalence of impairments, including impairments of cognition, vision, hearing, mobility, and urinary incontinence; prevalence of disability, including activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). Results: The proportion of older adults reporting no chronic disease decreased from 13.1% (95% Confidence Interval [CI], 12.4%-13.8%) in 1998 to 7.8% (95% CI, 7.2%-8.4%) in 2008, whereas the proportion reporting 1 or more chronic diseases increased from 86.9% (95% CI, 86.2%-89.6%) in 1998 to 92.2% (95% CI, 91.6%-92.8%) in 2008. In addition, the proportion reporting 4 or more diseases increased from 11.7% (95% CI, 11.0%-12.4%) in 1998 to 17.4% (95% CI, 16.6%-18.2%) in 2008. The proportion of older adults reporting no impairments was 47.3% (95% CI, 46.3%-48.4%) in 1998 and 44.4% (95% CI, 43.3%-45.5%) in 2008, whereas the proportion of respondents reporting 3 or more was 7.2% (95% CI, 6.7%-7.7%) in 1998 and 7.3% (95% CI, 6.8%-7.9%) in 2008. The proportion of older adults reporting any ADL or IADL disability was 26.3% (95% CI, 25.4%-27.2%) in 1998 and 25.4% (95% CI, 24.5%-26.3%) in 2008. Conclusions: Multiple chronic disease is increasingly prevalent among older U.S. adults, whereas the prevalence of impairment and disability, while substantial, remain stable. © 2011 Hung et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Hung, W. W., Ross, J. S., Boockvar, K. S., & Siu, A. L. (2011). Recent trends in chronic disease, impairment and disability among older adults in the United States. BMC Geriatrics, 11. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2318-11-47

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