Population attributable risk for functional disability associated with chronic conditions in Canada

Data from 9,008 community-dwelling individuals aged 65 and older from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA) were used to estimate the population-attributable risk (PAR) for chronic conditions after adjusting for confounding variables. Functional disability was measured using activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL).
Five chronic conditions (foot problems, arthritis, cognitive impairment, heart problems and vision) made the largest contribution to ADL- and IADL-related functional disabilities. There was variation in magnitude and ranking of population-attributable risk (PAR) by age, sex and definition of disability.  All chronic conditions taken simultaneously accounted for about 66 percent of the ADL-related disability and almost 50 percent of the IADL-related disability.  The study reports that in community-dwelling older adults, foot problems, arthritis, cognitive impairment, heart problems and vision were the major determinants of disability.

Conclusion:  Foot problems, behind only arthritis and hypertension, are major contributors to chronic disability and that if those foot problems were not present in the population greater quality of life would be enjoyed.

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