Multimorbidity, defined as the coexistence of two or more chronic health conditions in an individual, is increasingly recognised as a major concern for primary care physicians due to its significant impact on individual, family, and societal levels.
The presence of multimorbidity increases the risk of functional limitation, premature deaths, hospitalisation, depression, polypharmacy, worsens the quality of life, and imposes a substantial economic burden on patients and healthcare systems. Multimorbid patients face a high treatment burden, including understanding and self-managing multiple conditions, attending numerous appointments, and managing complex drug regimens, leading them to perceive it as an "endless struggle".
Studies conducted in developed countries indicate that a considerable percentage of individuals aged over 65 have two or more chronic conditions, with a higher prevalence among those aged 85 or more.. Additionally, a systematic review of various studies suggests that women generally have a higher prevalence of multimorbidity compared to men.
Ageing is an inevitable natural process often linked with declining health conditions. Healthy ageing does not have a universally laid criterion but can broadly be regarded as maintaining robust physical, mental, and social health, leading to overall well-being.
The demographic and epidemiological transition in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) has led to the rise in co-existing two or more long-term conditions known as multimorbidity. Projections suggest adults aged 45 years and above will constitute over 655 million or 40 percent of the Indian population by 2050 . The burden of multimorbidity often increases with a rise in age, which is evident by the findings of our previous study to assess multimorbidity amongst adults in primary care settings of Odisha, India, which revealed prevalence ranged from 5.8% in participants aged 18 to 29 years to 45% among those aged more than 70 years.
India witnessed a dramatic increase in life expectancy from 42.27 years in 1960 to 69.16 years in 2017 due to healthcare technology and quality advancements. Currently, inequality in life expectancy across gender makes women outlive men. Women in LMICs like India fall under the vulnerable and disadvantaged section of society due to socio-economic and cultural barriers, hindering their comprehensive development. Further, this implies that a mere increase in life expectancy does not guarantee a healthy life.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), gender is an essential factor in determining health outcomes in an individual. Women seldom have a say in their decision-making process, including their health. Adult women transit towards menopause around 45 years; this is accompanied by a series of natural physiological changes. These physiological changes compel them to be more aware of their health and healthy ageing at mid-life. Also, a change in health and consumption behaviours is generally observed around the pre-retirement age.
FEIMAN explores patient-reported, clinical and health outcomes in multimorbidity populations globally with a view to improve the quality of care offered to people.
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