Incidence and predictors of multimorbidity in the elderly: a population-based longitudinal study

PLoS One. 2014 Jul 24;9(7):e103120. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103120. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Background: We aimed to calculate 3-year incidence of multimorbidity, defined as the development of two or more chronic diseases in a population of older people free from multimorbidity at baseline. Secondly, we aimed to identify predictors of incident multimorbidity amongst life-style related indicators, medical conditions and biomarkers.

Methods: Data were gathered from 418 participants in the first follow up of the Kungsholmen Project (Stockholm, Sweden, 1991-1993, 78+ years old) who were not affected by multimorbidity (149 had none disease and 269 one disease), including a social interview, a neuropsychological battery and a medical examination.

Results: After 3 years, 33.6% of participants who were without disease and 66.4% of those with one disease at baseline, developed multimorbidity: the incidence rate was 12.6 per 100 person-years (95% CI: 9.2-16.7) and 32.9 per 100 person-years (95% CI: 28.1-38.3), respectively. After adjustments, worse cognitive function (OR, 95% CI, for 1 point lower Mini-Mental State Examination: 1.22, 1.00-1.48) was associated with increased risk of multimorbidity among subjects with no disease at baseline. Higher age was the only predictor of multimorbidity in persons with one disease at baseline.

Conclusions: Multimorbidity has a high incidence at old age. Mental health-related symptoms are likely predictors of multimorbidity, suggesting a strong impact of mental disorders on the health of older people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Comorbidity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology

Grant support

This study was funded by research grants from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.