Around the world, advances in public health and changes in clinical interventions have resulted in increased life expectancy. Multimorbidity is becoming more of an issue, particularly in countries where the population is rapidly ageing. We aimed to determine the prevalence of multimorbidity and disease-specific multimorbidity and examine its association with demographic and socioeconomic characteristics among older adults in India and its states.
The individual data from the longitudinal ageing study in India (LASI) were used for this study, with 11 common chronic conditions among older adults aged 60 and above years (N = 31,464). Descriptive statistics were used to report the overall prevalence of multimorbidity and disease-specific burden of multimorbidity. Multinomial logistic regression has been used to explore the factors associated with multimorbidity.
Prevalence of single morbidity was 30.3%, and multimorbidity was 32.1% among older people in India. Multimorbidity was higher among females and in urban areas and increased with age and among those living alone. Hypertension, arthritis and thyroid were highly prevalent among females and chronic lung diseases and stroke were highly prevalent among males. The older people in the state of Kerala had a high prevalence of multimorbidity (59.2%). Multimorbidity was found to be more likely in older age groups of 75-79 years (RR-1.69; CI: 1.53-1.87) and 80 years and above (RR-1.40; CI: 1.27-1.56) and in the Western (RR-2.16; CI: 1.90-2.44) and Southern regions (RR-2.89; CI: 2.57-3.24). Those who were living with a spouse (RR-1.60; CI: 1.15-2.23) were more likely to have multimorbidity. Disease-specific multimorbidity was high in chronic heart disease (91%) and low in angina (64.8%).
The findings suggest that multimorbidity has a positive relationship with advancing age, and disease-specific burden of multimorbidity is higher among chronic heart patients. Comorbidity, especially among those who already have chronic heart disease, stroke, cholesterol or thyroid disorder can have severe consequences on physical functioning, therefore, disease-specific health management needs to be enhanced.

© 2023. The Author(s).