Posted on Dec 01, 2014, 6 a.m.
Large-scale data analysis leads to a call for urgent prioritization of multimorbidity research to guide policy.
With the globally aging population, the number of cases of people with multimorbidity – that is, multiple health conditions – is increasing. Multimorbidity increases the risk of premature death, hospitalisations, loss of physical functioning, depression, and worsening quality of life, translating into a substantial economic burden for health systems. Jose M. Valderas, from the University of Exeter Medical School (United Kingdom), and colleagues have completed a large-scale data analysis involving 39 published studies with a total of70,057,611 subjects across 12 countries, found higher levels of multimorbidity in women. Observing that a prevalence of multiple health conditions varied widely between the studies - from less than 15% to more than 95%, the study authors urge that: " further and better designed studies are needed to inform policy, research and clinical practice, with multimorbidity. Standardization of the definition and assessment of multimorbidity is essential in order to better understand this phenomenon, and is a necessary immediate step.”
Concepcio Violan, Quintí Foguet-Boreu, Gemma Flores-Mateo, Chris Salisbury, Jeanet Blom, Michael Freitag, Liam Glynn, Christiane Muth, Jose M. Valderas . “Prevalence, Determinants and Patterns of Multimorbidity in Primary Care: A Systematic Review of Observational Studies.” PLOS ONE, 21 Jul 2014.