Objective: To estimate and compare the observed and expected prevalence of the co-existence of rheumatic diseases (RD) with other chronic conditions.
Methods: The self-reported diagnosis of chronic conditions was obtained from the 2192 participants in a national health survey (Spain, 1999–2000) We compared the estimated prevalence of the co-existence of a RD with other chronic conditions, to the expected prevalence using two-sample test of proportion.
Results: The observed (O) prevalence was significantly higher than expected (E) in the following combination of self-reported diseases: RD+arterial hypertension (O/E ratio = 1.88), RD+diabetes mellitus (O/E ratio = 2.07), RD+hypercholesterolemia (O/E ratio = 1.87), RD+cardiological (O/E ratio = 1.83), and RD+digestive diseases (O/E ratio = 2.07). The prevalence of selected co-existent pairs of diseases is more frequent with increasing age and differs between women and men.
Conclusions: The excess in prevalence of some combinations of diseases may serve as a reminder to the rheumatologists that many of their patients will have co-existent disease of which they need to be aware to properly plan their management. It may also be a sign of common risk factors between diseases or of adverse events.
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A list of the full EPISER Study Group appears in the Appendix.
Funding: EPISER was supported by a grant from the Fondo de Investigaciones de la Seguridad Social (FIS 99/0251), and sponsored by Merck Sharp and Dohme España.
Competing interests: None declared.
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