Geriatric Syndromes and Incident Chronic Health Conditions Among 9094 Older Community-Dwellers: Findings From the Lifelines Cohort Study

Christian Rausch*, Sander van Zon, Yajun Liang, Lucie Laflamme, Jette Möller, Sophia de Rooij, Ute Bültmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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OBJECTIVES: To determine the association between geriatric syndromes and any specific incident chronic health conditions among older community-dwellers.

DESIGN: Population-based cohort study over a median follow-up period of 43 months.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Participants from the Lifelines Cohort Study aged 60 years and older without presence of the studied chronic health conditions at baseline (n = 9094).

METHODS: Baseline assessment took place between November 2006 and December 2013 and included information on socioeconomic (age, sex, level of education and income), social contact, and health-related factors (eg, self-rated health, body mass index, chronic health conditions, and health behavior [alcohol consumption and smoking]). Participants also reported the presence of geriatric syndromes (ie, included falls, incontinence, vision impairment, hearing impairment, depressive symptoms, and frailty at baseline). Three follow-up questionnaires were used to examine the incidence of any and specific chronic health conditions (ie, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and neurological diseases). Cox regression was used to analyze the longitudinal associations between geriatric syndromes and incident chronic health conditions.

RESULTS: Older community-dwelling individuals with at least one geriatric syndrome (44.7%, n = 4038) had an increased risk of developing any new chronic health condition (hazard ratio [HR] 1.35; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21-1.51). The association was attenuated but remained significant after adjustment for socioeconomic factors, social contact, health status, and health behavior (HR 1.27; 95% CI 1.12-1.43). Analyses for specific chronic health conditions showed that compared with older community-dwellers without geriatric syndromes, those with geriatric syndromes had an increased risk to develop a cardiovascular health condition (HR 1.42; 95% CI 1.13-1.79) or diabetes (HR 1.53; 95% CI 1.11-2.11). They had no increased risk to develop pulmonary conditions, cancer, or neurological conditions.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: The presence of geriatric syndromes is associated with incident chronic health conditions, specifically cardiovascular conditions and diabetes. Increased awareness is needed among older people with geriatric syndromes and their physicians. Comprehensive assessments of geriatric syndromes may help to prevent or at least delay the development of chronic health conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-59.e2
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number1
Early online date30-Mar-2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2022

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