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Arthritis
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 823527, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/823527
Clinical Study

Age-Related Health Hazards in Old Patients with First-Time Referral to a Rheumatologist: A Descriptive Study

Department of Rheumatolgy, Sint Maartenskliniek, P.O. Box 9011, 6500 GM Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Received 25 August 2011; Accepted 31 October 2011

Academic Editor: Shigeru Kotake

Copyright © 2011 W. van Lankveld et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Objective. To study the prevalence of generic age-related health hazards in elderly patient referred to a rheumatologist. Methods. Patients aged 75 or older referred to a specialized gerontorheumatological outpatient service over a period of 2 years were studied prospectively to determine the prevalence of comorbidities, a history of falls, inactivity, cognitive dysfunction, loneliness, and depression in this patient group. Results. A group of 154 patients were included in the study. Comorbidities were observed in 88% of the patients. At least one fall was reported in the last year by 44% of the patients; 44% of the patients reported low levels of health-enhancing physical activity. Depressed mood and loneliness were elevated in 30% and 31% of the patients, respectively. Mild or moderate cognitive impairment was observed in 13% of the patients. Conclusion. Patients in this study were characterized by poor physical ability, high levels of pain, and high prevalence of age-related health hazards.