The burden of common chronic disease on health-related quality of life in an elderly community-dwelling population in the UK

Fam Pract. 2014 Oct;31(5):557-63. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmu035. Epub 2014 Jul 1.


Background: Given the high prevalence of chronic conditions and multimorbidity in the elderly, there is a need to determine which chronic conditions have the greatest impact on health-related quality of life (HRQL) and identify where additional intervention may be required.

Objective: To explore the impact of a range of common chronic conditions on HRQL in a community-based population aged 65 years or more in the UK.

Methods: Secondary analysis of data derived from a large (n = 5849) cross-sectional study. HRQL was assessed using the EuroQoL EQ-5D. Multivariable models were used to estimate the relative effect of 15 individual common chronic conditions and combinations of these conditions on HRQL.

Results: Mean age of participants was 74.6 years, 49.2% were male. The mean EQ-5D index score was 0.78 (standard deviation 0.2), range -0.43 to 1.00. Overall, 53% (n = 3078) of the cohort reported problems with pain, 39% (n = 2273) with mobility and 9% (n = 529) with self-care. Multivariate modelling demonstrated that impaired HRQL was significantly associated with 13 of the 15 common chronic conditions studied. Clinically meaningful reductions in EQ-5D index scores were observed for osteoarthritis (-0.081, P = 0.0006), neurological disease (-0.172, P < 0.0001) and depression (-0.269, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: This study quantifies the relative impact of 13 common chronic conditions on HRQL in a UK-based community-dwelling ageing population. Findings indicate that osteoarthritis, depression and neurological disease have a strong clinically important negative effect on HRQL. These findings may help clinical decision making and priority setting for management of individuals with multimorbidity.

Keywords: Ageing; health-related quality of life; multimorbidity; primary care..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / psychology
  • Osteoarthritis / epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis / psychology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology