Multimorbidity in older adults with intellectual disabilities

Res Dev Disabil. 2014 Apr;35(4):776-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.01.022. Epub 2014 Feb 14.


Multimorbidity may be related to the supposed early aging of people with intellectual disabilities (ID). This group may suffer more often from multimorbidity, because of ID-related physical health conditions, unhealthy lifestyle and metabolic effects of antipsychotic drug use. Multimorbidity has been defined as two or more chronic conditions. Data on chronic conditions have been collected through physical assessment, questionnaires, and medical files. Prevalence, associated factors and clusters of multimorbidity have been studied in 1047 older adults (≥ 50 years) with ID. Multimorbidity was prevalent in 79.8% and associated with age and severe/profound ID. Four or more conditions were prevalent in 46.8% and associated with age, severe/profound ID and Down syndrome. Factor analyses did not reveal a model for disease-clusters with good fit. Multimorbidity is highly prevalent in older adults with ID. Multimorbidity should receive more attention in research and clinical practice for targeted pro-active prevention and treatment.

Keywords: Frailty; Intellectual disability; Mental health; Multimorbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Hearing Loss / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thyroid Diseases / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology