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.
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