Details of Publication 670 for Project A462:

Jackson C, Jones M, Tooth L, Byles J, Mishra G & Dobson A. Multimorbidity patterns in elderly women and associations with disability. , 2013; : 69

Background: Our understanding of how health conditions group together and impact on future health is limited. Method: We included 7269 women aged 76-81 in 2002 from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, who are surveyed every three years. Using factor analysis we identified multimorbidity patterns based on self-reported conditions, and related these to functional decline in performing 8 activities of daily living (ADL) in 2005-2011. Joint modelling analyses, which accounts for attrition, were used. Results: We identified three multimorbidity patterns: musculoskeletal/somatic (MSS); cerebrovascular/mental health (CMH); and cardiovascular (CVD). Factor scores for each multimorbidity pattern were split into tertiles of low, middle and high scores. Compared to women in the lowest MSS tertile, women in the highest MSS tertile were significantly more disabled (ADL 1.45 vs 0.84; p<0.0001) and they declined significantly more over time (p<0.0001). Women in the highest CMH tertile were significantly more disabled than those in the lowest tertile (ADL 1.32 vs 0.88; p<0.0001), but there was no difference in functional decline over time (p = 0.2). There was no significant difference in disability level between women with a highest versus lowest CVD tertile (ADL 1.13 vs 1.01; p = 0.22), and no difference in functional decline over time (p = 0.69).Conclusion: We observed three patterns of multimorbidity among elderly women. Both the MSS and CMH patterns were associated with disability level, but only the MSS pattern was associated with functional decline over time.

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