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The pains of a longer life: Gender differences in life expectancy free from musculoskeletal pain at age 65 in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. (Socialgerontologiska forskningsgruppen, Aging Research Center)
Karolinska Institutet, Aging Research Center . (Socialgerontologiska forskningsgruppen, Aging Research Center)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. (Socialgerontologiska forskningsgruppen, Aging Research Center)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. (Socialgerontologiska forskningsgruppen, Aging Research Center)
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background. Life expectancy (LE) has increased. Health expectancy studies divide LE into life spent in different health conditions.

Objective. To describe the number of years spent with musculoskeletal pain in relation to total LE at age 65 in 1991/1992 and 2000/2002 and to examine the change in the proportion of LE spent free from musculoskeletal pain (pain-free life expectancy, PFLE) among men and women. Do the years added to life consist of years with or without musculoskeletal pain?

Methods. PFLE was calculated using Sullivan’s method by combining prevalence rates of musculoskeletal pain from two nationally representative population-based studies in Sweden (LNU and SWEOLD) from 1991/1992 and 2000/2002 and life tables from Statistics Sweden.

Results. In 1991/1992, both men and women aged 65 could expect to live 12 years free from musculoskeletal pain. However, the proportion of PFLE among men (75%) and women (60%) differed significantly (p = 0.000). Ten years later, both men and women could expect significantly more years with pain. PFLE among women had decreased to 51% (p = 0.059; 10.6 pain-free years, 10.0 years with pain); among men it had decreased to 68% (p = 0.152; 11.7 pain-free years, 5.5 years with pain). 

Conclusions. The estimated proportion of pain-free LE at age 65 decreased between 1991/1992 and 2000/2002. For men, the number of pain-free years remained unchanged, but years with pain increased. For women, there was both a decrease in pain-free years and an increase in years with pain.  Results suggest an expansion of morbidity in the older population.

Keyword [en]
gender, pain, healthy life expectancy, older people
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55281OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-55281DiVA: diva2:402215
Available from: 2011-03-07 Created: 2011-03-07 Last updated: 2011-03-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Gender Matters: Differences and change in disability and health among our oldest women and men
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender Matters: Differences and change in disability and health among our oldest women and men
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates gender differences in health and how they have changed between 1992 and 2002 among very old people. It explores gender differences in the association between disability and health, and gender differences in care utilization among our oldest old people. The studies are based on nationally representative data of the population in Sweden aged 77 and older (SWEOLD).

 Results from Study I showed that women generally had more health problems than men. Analyses of change between 1992 and 2002 showed increased prevalence rates for both sexes, especially women. However, women’s reporting of poor global self-rated health did not increase. There were no gender differences and there was no change over time in activities of daily living (ADL). Several health indicators seem to be developing differently for women and men.

 Study II showed that associations between ADL disability and other health indicators changed between 1992 and 2002, with several health problems and functional limitations becoming less disabling over time. This trend was especially true for women, while for men, the findings were mixed.

 Study III found no gender differences in physician visits and dental visits, despite women’s worse health and dental status. Marriage was associated with more physician visits for men and dentist visits for women. Results imply that women and unmarried older adults may have unmet health-care needs.

 Study IV examined whether the increase in life expectancy at age 65 observed between 1992 and 2002 consisted of years with or without musculoskeletal pain. Results showed that total years without pain decreased for both women and men, but more so for women. Women also had more years with pain added to life.

 The results of this thesis suggest an increase of health problems, but not disability, in the oldest Swedish population. However, gender variations in the findings highlight the importance of analyzing health trends separately for women and men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Social Work, Stockholm University, 2011. 90 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in social work, ISSN 0281-2851 ; 29
Keyword
oldest old, gender differences, health trends, disability, care utilization, healthy life expectancy, Sweden
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55282 (URN)978-91-7447-253-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-04-08, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveaplan, Stockholm, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: In press. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Submitted.Available from: 2011-03-17 Created: 2011-03-07 Last updated: 2011-03-17Bibliographically approved

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