Home / News / India /  75% elderly suffer from chronic diseases, quarter live with co-morbid conditions

Around 75% of the elderly in India suffer from one or the other chronic disease, 40% have a disability and 20% go through issues related to mental health, revealed the India Report on Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) Wave-1 released by the union health ministry on Wednesday.

The study holds significance in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic with the elderly and persons with comorbidities being at the highest risk of contracting the disease.

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), older people, and people of all ages with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, or cancer) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.

The study said: “Overall, in India, the self-reported prevalence of diagnosed cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) is 28% among older adults age 45 and above. The prevalence of CVDs increases with age from 22% among those in age 45-59 to 34% among those in age 60-74, and further to 37% among those age 75 and above."

The study, when compared the state-wise distribution of diseases, found that more than a half of elderly age 60 and above in the states/UTs of Goa (60%), Kerala (57%), Chandigarh (55%), Andaman & Nicobar (51%), and Jammu & Kashmir (51%) reported that they have been diagnosed with CVDs.

“About a third (32%) of elderly age 60 and above have been diagnosed with hypertension, 5.2% were diagnosed with chronic heart disease and 2.7% with stroke. The self-reported prevalence of diabetes mellitus among older adults age 45-59 is 9% and among the elderly age 60 and above is 14%," the study said.

Overall, in India, the prevalence of asthma, bronchitis, and COPD is higher among elderly age 60 and above (5.9%, 1.6%, and 2.8%, respectively) than in older adults age 45-59 (3.1%, 0.7%, and 1.6%, respectively).

Around 8% percent of elderly age 60 and above reported chronic lung diseases. Chronic lung diseases are more prevalent in the states/UTs of Rajasthan (15%), Puducherry (13%), Kerala (12%), West Bengal (11%) and Karnataka (10%), the study said.

It highlighted that in India, 26% of older adults age 45 and above reported that they have been diagnosed with single morbidity and 18% have been diagnosed with multi-morbidities. Around a quarter of the elderly age 60 and above have multi-morbidities (23%) compared with 13% among older adults age 45-59.

The prevalence of multi-morbidity conditions among the elderly age 60 and above is much higher in the states/UTs of Kerala (52%), Chandigarh (41%), Lakshadweep (40%), Goa (39%) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (38%). The prevalence of single morbidity and multi-morbidity conditions increases with age, the study findings highlighted.

Launched in 2016, the LASI is a full–scale national survey of scientific investigation of the health, economic, and social determinants and consequences of population ageing in India. The LASI is a biennial panel survey representative of older and elderly population age 45 and above for India and its states and Union Territories, as existed at the time of planning of the survey.

The LASI, wave 1 covered a panel sample of 72,250 individuals age 45 and above and their spouses, including 31,464 elderly persons age 60 and above and 6,749 oldest-old persons age 75 and above from 35 states and union territories (UTs) of India (excluding Sikkim). The National Programme for Health Care of Elderly, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has undertaken the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India, through International Institute for Population Sciences, (IIPS), Mumbai in collaboration with Harvard School of Public Health, University of Southern California,USA, Dte.GHS, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and National Institute on Ageing, Harsh Vardhan the union health minister said.

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