Multimorbidity in Canadians living in the community
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OBJECTIVE: To determine the mean number of chronic diseases in Canadians aged 45 to 85 years who are living in the community, and to characterize the association of multimorbidity with age, sex, and social position. DESIGN: An analysis of data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. The number of self-reported chronic diseases was summed, and then the mean number of chronic health problems was standardized to the 2011 Canadian population. Analyses were conducted stratified on sex, age, individual income, household income, and education level. SETTING: Canada. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 21 241 community-living Canadians aged 45 to 85 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Overall, 31 chronic diseases (self-reported from a list) were considered, as were risk factors that were not mental health conditions or acute in nature. Age, sex, education, and household and individual incomes were also self-reported. RESULTS: Multimorbidity was common, and the mean number of chronic illnesses was 3.1. Women had a higher number of chronic illnesses than men. Those with lower income and less education had more chronic conditions. The number of chronic conditions was strongly associated with age. The mean number of conditions was 2.1 in those aged 45 to 54; 2.9 in those 55 to 64; 3.8 in those aged 65 to 74, and 4.8 in those aged 75 and older (P < .05, ANOVA [analysis of variance]). CONCLUSION: Multimorbidity is common in the Canadian population and is strongly related to age.