Multimorbidity prevalence and patterns and their associations with health literacy among chronic kidney disease patients

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Background: Health literacy is the ability to deal with information related to one’s health. Patients with low health literacy have poor disease-management skills for chronic diseases, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD). This could influence the number and combination of their diseases. Methods: We included adult patients with CKD stages 1–5 from the Lifelines Study (n = 2,742). We assessed the association between low health literacy and the number and patterns of comorbidities, considering them globally and stratified by age and sex, using multinomial logistic regression and latent class analysis, respectively. Results: Low health literacy was associated with a higher number of comorbidities in the crude models, and after adjustment for age, sex, eGFR, smoking, and BMI. In the crude model, the OR for low health literacy increased from 1.71 (1.25–2.33) for two comorbidities to 2.71 (2.00–3.68) for four comorbidities. In the fully-adjusted model, the associations remained significant with a maximum OR of 1.70 (1.16–2.49) for four comorbidities. The patterns of multimorbidity were similar for low and adequate health literacy, overall and by sex, bur tended to be different for patients older than 65. Older patients with low health literacy had higher comorbidity prevalence and a relatively greater share of cardiovascular, psychiatric, and central nervous system diseases. Conclusions: Among CKD patients, low health literacy is associated with more multimorbidity. Health literacy is not associated with patterns of multimorbidity in younger patients, but a difference was observed in older ones. Improving low health literacy could be an intervention efficient also in decreasing multimorbidity in CKD patients. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftJournal of Nephrology
Vroegere onlinedatum5-jan-2022
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 5-jan-2022

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