Tipping Points-Do the Prognostic Values of Multimorbidity and Functional Status Vary with Age?

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  • Lau Caspar Thygesen
  • Kaare Christensen
  • Mikael Rorth
  • Henrik Toft Sørensen
  • Jan P. Vandenbroucke
  • Westendorp, Rudi GJ

Aging of the population is a pressing challenge for healthcare systems and knowledge of a patient's prognosis is a key to shaping effective interventions. As the prevalence of multimorbidity strongly increases with age, the prognostic value of multiple disease diagnoses for survival among older people may diminish, whereas other measures of health, such as functional status (defined as a measure of an individual's ability to perform activities of daily living), may become more important. In this commentary, the impact of age on the prognostic value of multimorbidity is discussed, with the aim of identifying relevant alternative risk indicators for different age groups. The key question is to determine at what age the prognostic value of multimorbidity for meaningful clinical outcomes decreases and is overridden by the prognostic value of functional status. This tipping point likely depends on age, calendar time, and birth cohort. The public health and clinical implications of these tipping points are important. Among younger and middle-aged persons, interventions could be directed towards prevention and treatment of specific diseases, while among older persons efforts should focus more on improving functional levels that include physical, emotional, and social dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Epidemiology
Pages (from-to)853-857
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • chronic disease, health services, public health, aged, multimorbidity, OLDER-ADULTS, HEALTH, COMORBIDITY, FRAILTY, TIME, PREVALENCE, MORTALITY, DEMENTIA, QUALITY, TRENDS

ID: 281701439