Evidence of a higher burden of multimorbidity among female patients in Albania
Aim: The purpose of this study was to assess sex-differences in the prevalence of multimorbidity and the number of comorbid conditions among hospitalized patients in Tirana, the capital of Albania, a transitional country in Southeastern Europe.
Methods: The current study was a case-series, which was carried out in the period August 2013–June 2014. Overall, 974 patients were enrolled (46.6% men with a mean age of 61.2±13.8 years, and 53.4% women with a mean age of 61.3±13.1 years), who were admitted at the Service of Internal Medicine and Hypertension, University Hospital Center “Mother Teresa” in Tirana. A comprehensive clinical profile was assembled for all patients in addition to socio-demographic data and information on lifestyle factors. General linear model was used to assess the association between multimorbidity (total number of diseases/conditions) and sex of the patients, controlling for socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyle factors.
Results: In crude (unadjusted) models and in age-adjusted models, female patients had a higher mean value of diseases/conditions compared to males (for both: 4.4 vs. 4.1, respectively, P=0.03). Likewise, upon adjustment for all socio-demographic characteristics, the mean number of disease/conditions was significantly higher in female patients compared to their male counterparts (4.2 vs. 3.9, respectively; P=0.03). After additional adjustment for lifestyle factors, the association between sex and number diseases/conditions was not significant anymore (p=0.16), notwithstanding the evidence of a higher mean value in women compared to men (4.2 vs. 4.0).
Conclusion: Current evidence from transitional Albania suggests a higher burden of multimorbidity among female patients compared to males, which is a cause of concern. These findings should raise the awareness of health professionals and particularly policymakers and decision-makers in order to address gender issues and inequity gaps in health outcomes and burden of disease of the Albanian population.
Copyright (c) 2018 Ledio Collaku, Margarita Resuli, Ilir Gjermeni, Mihal Tase
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