Background: In the context of population aging, multimorbidity has emerged as a growing concern in public health. However, little is known about multimorbidity patterns and other issues surrounding chronic diseases. The aim of our study was to examine multimorbidity patterns, the relationship between physical and mental conditions and the distribution of multimorbidity in the Spanish adult population.
Methods: Data from this cross-sectional study was collected from the COURAGE study. A total of 4,583 participants from Spain were included, 3,625 aged over 50. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to detect multimorbidity patterns in the population over 50 years of age. Crude and adjusted binary logistic regressions were performed to identify individual associations between physical and mental conditions.
Results: THREE MULTIMORBIDITY PATTERNS ROSE: 'cardio-respiratory' (angina, asthma, chronic lung disease), 'mental-arthritis' (arthritis, depression, anxiety) and the 'aggregated pattern' (angina, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, cataracts, edentulism, arthritis). After adjusting for covariates, asthma, chronic lung disease, arthritis and the number of physical conditions were associated with depression. Angina and the number of physical conditions were associated with a higher risk of anxiety. With regard to multimorbidity distribution, women over 65 years suffered from the highest rate of multimorbidity (67.3%).
Conclusion: Multimorbidity prevalence occurs in a high percentage of the Spanish population, especially in the elderly. There are specific multimorbidity patterns and individual associations between physical and mental conditions, which bring new insights into the complexity of chronic patients. There is need to implement patient-centered care which involves these interactions rather than merely paying attention to individual diseases.