WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University professor has received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Aging to study why some older adults living with two or more chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart problems, are more likely than others to succumb to the effects of aging.
“The term for living with multiple chronic conditions is multimorbidity, and the implication is that it can lead to disability and mortality. The more conditions you have, the more likely you are to suffer from things we typically associate with aging, such as memory loss, disability or early death,” said Elliot Friedman, an assistant professor of human development and family studies. “But some people with multimorbidity have a reasonably high quality of life and remain active. So what are the key differences between these people and the ones who become disabled or cognitively impaired?”
More than 70 percent of Americans 65 and older have two or more chronic conditions, and that increases to 90 percent in those older than 85. The conditions Friedman will focus on in this study are heart problems, hypertension, cancer, asthma, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, obesity, neurological disorders, stroke and ulcers.
“Our hope is that this project will contribute new information about how people with multiple chronic conditions can retain a high quality of life in their later years,” Friedman said.