Comorbidity and Dementia in England

If you know me or have to sit through my classes; you will know that I have a keen interest in multimorbidity and its impact on older people. So this week I have to mention that Public Health England (PHE) published a report with findings from an analysis of a sample of anonymised primary care records highlighting the prevalence of diagnosed comorbidities in people living with dementia (in England).

The comorbidities considered in the analysis were hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA), diabetes, depression, severe mental illness or psychosis, Parkinsonism, epilepsy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. The data set used for the analysis was the Health Improvement Network (THIN).

Key findings from the report revealed that

  • 77% of people living with dementia also had at least one other health condition that is mentioned in the list above. So close to 8 people in every 10 diagnosed.
  • Among, people living with dementia hypertension was the most common comorbidity (44%). The prevalence of diabetes, stroke or TIA, CHD or depression ranged between 17-20%, while that of Parkinsonism, COPD or asthma ranged between 9-11%.
  • The prevalence rates for eight of the 10 comorbidities were higher in people living with dementia than you would expect in other people. Only the prevalence of hypertension and asthma was higher in other people.
  • The likelihood of multiple comorbidities was higher in patients with dementia.
  • 22% of people living with dementia had ≥3 comorbidities and 8% had ≥4 comorbidities, compared with just 11% exhibiting 3 or more comorbidities and only 3% exhibiting 4 or more in the wider GP population.
  • At the age of 85 people living with dementia were highly likely to have ≥2 comorbidities compared with other 85 year olds.

The data also shows that different types of dementia lead to different patterns of comorbidities being diagnosed.

Not surprisingly vascular dementia is associated with the cardiovascular conditions, but surprisingly it is also more associated with respiratory conditions than the other forms of dementia.

To see the report CLICK HERE

If you want to know more about this interesting topic then maybe you could read my chapter in the Textbook of Dementia Care.

I know it’s shameless self-publicity!

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