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Multimorbidity and health-related quality of life in the older population: results from the German KORA-Age study

DOI: 10.1186/1477-7525-9-53

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The EQ-5D was administered in the population-based KORA-Age study of 4,565 Germans aged 65 years or older. A generalised additive regression model was used to assess the effects of chronic conditions on HRQL and to account for the nonlinear associations with age and body mass index (BMI). Disease interactions were identified by a forward variable selection method.The conditions with the greatest negative impact on the EQ-5D index were the history of a stroke (regression coefficient -11.3, p < 0.0001) and chronic bronchitis (regression coefficient -8.1, p < 0.0001). Patients with both diabetes and coronary disorders showed more impaired HRQL than could be expected from their separate effects (coefficient of interaction term -8.1, p < 0.0001). A synergistic effect on HRQL was also found for the combination of coronary disorders and stroke. The effect of BMI on the mean EQ-5D index was inverse U-shaped with a maximum at around 24.8 kg/m2.There are important interactions between coronary problems, diabetes mellitus, and the history of a stroke that negatively affect HRQL in the older German population. Not only high but also low BMI is associated with impairments in health status.Multimorbidity, defined as the coexistence of two or more chronic conditions, is a common phenomenon among the older population worldwide: two recent population-based studies indicated that the prevalence of multimorbidity ranges between 40% and 56% in the general population aged 65 years and older [1,2]. Multimorbidity is known to negatively affect health outcomes including mortality, hospitalisation, and readmission [3].Health-related quality of life (HRQL) is a health outcome measure which is increasingly used to assess the medical effectiveness of interventions and to support allocation decisions in the health care sector. Generic HRQL instruments like the EQ-5D are appropriate for non-disease-specific analyses and allow comparisons between patient groups with different medical conditions [


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