Chronic disease and impairment among Alaska native elders : the Alaska Education and Research Towards Health (EARTH) study

Haymes, Sharon, Ferucci, Elizabeth D., Dillard, Denise A. and Lanier, Anne P. 2010, Chronic disease and impairment among Alaska native elders : the Alaska Education and Research Towards Health (EARTH) study, IHS primary care provider, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 105-116.

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Title Chronic disease and impairment among Alaska native elders : the Alaska Education and Research Towards Health (EARTH) study
Author(s) Haymes, Sharon
Ferucci, Elizabeth D.
Dillard, Denise A.
Lanier, Anne P.
Journal name IHS primary care provider
Volume number 35
Issue number 5
Start page 105
End page 116
Total pages 12
Publisher U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Clinical Support Center
Place of publication Rockville, Md.
Publication date 2010-05
ISSN 1063-4398
Summary Background: Chronic diseases and impairments are prevalent among older Americans. However, prevalence data for Alaska Native (AN) elders are limited, with estimates usually extrapolated from national studies in which AN elders may not be well-represented. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of selected chronic diseases, impairments, and measured medical risk factors among a large community sample of AN elders.

Methods: Design, setting, and participants. A community-based cross-sectional study of baseline information from 656 AN elders aged 55 years or over who participated in the Alaska Education and Research Towards Health (EARTH) Study, March 2004 to August 2006. Measurements. Self-reported lifetime prevalence of 17 doctor-diagnosed chronic diseases, and point prevalence of vision, hearing, oral, and general health impairment were estimated from data collected using audio computer-assisted self-administered questionnaires. In addition, height, weight, blood pressure, fasting blood lipids, and fasting blood glucose levels were measured.

Results: The four most prevalent chronic diseases among AN elders were high blood pressure (55%), arthritis (49%), high cholesterol (42%), and adult bone fracture/break (35%). The median number of chronic diseases reported was three (inter-quartile range, 2 to 5). The prevalence of self-reported vision impairment was 15%, hearing impairment 18%, and having had all natural teeth removed 25%. Almost 50% were obese. High blood pressure (systolic ≥ 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic ≥ 90 mm Hg) was measured in 23%, high low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (≥ 130 mg/dL) in 39%, and high fasting plasma glucose (> 125 mg/dL) in 9%. Obesity was more prevalent among women than men. There were also significant regional differences in rates of obesity and high LDL cholesterol.

Conclusion: These data may be useful in public health programs and health services planning.
Language eng
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C3.1 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
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