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Medical and social conditions in the elderly gender and age differences: the Umeå longitudinal study
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Geriatric Medicine.
1993 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In 1981, no representative study of the medical and social conditions among elderly persons in northern Scandinavia was performed. Nor was there such a study in a smaller Swedish town than Gothenburg. This study was initiated to fill that knowledge gap. The aim of the study was to evaluate gender and age differences in medical and social conditions among elderly people, including the reference intervals of clinical chemistry parameters and characteristic features of the 24-hour electrocardiogram (ECG) in healthy elderly. By way of longitudinal design with birth cohorts stratified by gender, it was assumed that the effects could be demonstrated. Also, the death risk of various social and medical variables was to be assessed.

During the study period 1981 to 1990, the subjects were between 70 and 88 years of age. The proportion of persons living in private housing decreased from almost all at the age of 70 to slightly more than half at 88 years of age. The number of socially active persons decreased considerably during the period. The need of help increased from almost none to 60 % of the persons.

The proportions of persons with normal sight and hearing decreased from two thirds to around one tenth The most frequent symptoms were general tiredness, pains, dyspnoea, constipation and dryness of the mouth. Cardiovascular diseases were the most frequent. Hypertensive disease became less, and congestive heart failure more frequent with age. The frequency of dementia increased steeply among the oldest persons; at 88 years of age, 40 % were demented.

Drug consumption increased; the oldest persons in both age cohorts used 5 different drugs or more per person regularly. The consumption increase was mainly due to the increasing morbidity accompanying age. The most common drugs taken were cardiovascular preparations, psychoactive agents, drugs to alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms, and analgesics. Drug intake and symptom prevalence were generally higher in women, despite the fact that there was no gender difference in the number of diseases.

The reference intervals of many blood components in healthy elderly were shown to be broader than those of younger persons. The intervals of P(lasma)-folate and P- potassium were on a lower and those of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, P-creati- nine and, in women, S(erum)-cholesterol, were on a higher level than among younger persons.

Several features of the 24-hour ECG, e.g. the number of episodes of supraventricular tachycardia as well as supraventricular and ventricular premature beats in healthy elderly were more frequent than among younger persons.

Between 80 and 88 years of age, many functions crucial to the chances of living a rich and vital life were found deteriorating in the elderly persons. High age, male sex, dementia, congestive heart failure, and low values of S-creatinine were shown to be independent factors connected with an increased death risk.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1993. , 112 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 369
Keyword [en]
Population study, elderly, diseases, social situation, drug consumption, prognostic factors, reference intervals, blood components, electrocardiogram
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-102560ISBN: 91-7174-777-XOAI: diva2:808716
Public defence
1993-06-11, Tandläkarhögskolans föreläsningssal B, 9 tr, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 09:00

S. 1-112: sammanfattning, s. 115-177: 5 uppsatser

Available from: 2015-05-04 Created: 2015-04-28 Last updated: 2015-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Österlind, Per Olov
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