1. The incidence of multimorbidity increased with age amongst the Korean geriatric population.

2. The strongest predictors of multimorbidity in the Korean population included alcohol consumption, social interaction and support, obesity, and smoking.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

With the rapid growth of the aging population, multimorbidity has become a significant global concern and presents substantial burdens on the healthcare system. Several studies have focused on identifying key determinants and at-risk populations for multimorbidity; however, longitudinal studies remain quite scarce, to date. In this longitudinal cohort study, 1967 participants from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA) were assessed for physician-diagnosed conditions including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, liver disease, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid disease, digestive system disease, and dementia, to evaluate multimorbidity over a 10-year follow-up period. Multimorbidity was defined as the co-existence of at least two of the aforementioned conditions. Sociodemographic information, lifestyle factors, health behaviors, and psychosocial factors of the participants were additionally identified. Over the 10-years of follow-up, 625 patients developed multimorbidity, with a 31.8% cumulative incidence rate. A history of consuming alcohol was the strongest predictor of multimorbidity incidence during the 10-year period (HR 1.73, 95%CI 1.37-2.19). Other factors significantly increasing risk of multimorbidity included low social interaction level (HR 1.61, 95%CI 1.31-1.99), obesity (HR 1.65, 95%CI 1.34-2.02), and a history of smoking (HR 1.55, 95%CI 1.26-1.91). In conclusion, this study provides important information regarding the incidence of multimorbidity among the Korean geriatric population and discusses critical factors that may contribute to an increased risk of morbid conditions. However, this study remains limited as only a Korean population was examined, and as such, the findings cannot be generalized to the broader population. Nonetheless, the results of this study do warrant further investigation into factors involved in multimorbidity among geriatric populations in attempt to prevent and reduce the inevitable burden on healthcare.

Click to read the study in BMC Geriatrics

Image: PD

©2022 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. All rights reserved. No works may be reproduced without expressed written consent from 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. Inquire about licensing here. No article should be construed as medical advice and is not intended as such by the authors or by 2 Minute Medicine, Inc.