Life Expectancy Limited By Multiple Chronic Health Conditions

Eva DuGoff, PhD, MPP Graduate Student Department of Health Policy and Management Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Interview with:
Eva DuGoff, PhD, MPP
Graduate Student
Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. DuGoff: In this study we investigate average life expectancy in older adults living with one to 10 or more different chronic conditions. Our main finding is that life expectancy decreases with each additional chronic condition.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. DuGoff: It is important to note that the impact of each additional chronic condition is not linear. Life expectancy is relatively similar among individuals with one or two conditions. Life expectancy declines substantially (1.6 y) for individuals living with 3 chronic conditions compared with 2 chronic conditions. The largest decline in life expectancy is 2.6 years comparing individuals with 6 chronic conditions to those with 5 chronic conditions.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. DuGoff: This study provides new evidence that preventing or delaying the onset of new chronic conditions can have a substantial impact not only on quality of life but also quantity of life. We hope this study renews the focus of clinicians and patients on appropriately managing chronic disease and preventing the onset of new disease.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. DuGoff: In our paper, we identify two important areas for further research. One important area for further study is to consider how life expectancy may vary among among individuals with multiple chronic conditions who use different care delivery systems, such as integrated delivery systems and fee-for-service.

Another area in need of further study is understanding when individuals acquire comorbidities, and how disease accumulation patterns may differ by race and sex.


Multiple Chronic Conditions and Life Expectancy, A Life Table Analysis
DuGoff, Eva H. MPP; Canudas-Romo, Vladimir PhD; Buttorff, Christine BA, BS; Leff, Bruce MD; Anderson, Gerard F. PhD*
August 2014 – Volume 52 – Issue 8 – p 688-694

doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000166


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