Morbidity patterns in aged population in southern Italy. A survey sampling

Francesco Cacciatore, Ciro Gallo, Nicola Ferrara, Pasquale Abete, Giuseppe Paolisso, Silvestro Canonico, Giuseppe Signoriello, Carmelo Terracciano, Claudio Napoli, Michele Varricchio, Franco Rengo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of the study was to investigated the prevalence of disability, cognitive impairment, depressive symptomatology and chronic diseases in a sample of the elderly population. A cross-sectional study was carried out on a random sample from the general population of elderly located in a geographically well defined Mediterranean area of Southern Italy. We examined 1339 subjects. Investigated diseases were: chronic obstructive lung disease, hypertension, arthrosis, diabetes mellitus, neurological disease, myocardial infarction, angina, atrial fibrillation, peripheral artery disease and congestive heart failure. Cognitive status was assessed by means of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), depression symptomatology was evaluated by Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and disability by means of Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL). This methodological study showed that 27.9% had a MMSE score <24 and the score decreased with age in both sexes. A total of 9.8% of the subjects had severe depression (GDS score > 20). Comorbidity was evaluated from the past medical, history and confirmed by a clinical exam by a physician. Only 8.7% of subjects were found without chronic illness. Median number of diseases was two, with 26.6% declaring four diseases or more. Comorbidity increased with age, an overall slight decrease of the number of diseases being observed in the subjects > 85 years old. Subjects disabled in ADL were 7%, while disabled in IADL were 46.7%. The disability prevalence increased with age, affecting more female than male.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-213
Number of pages13
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1998


  • Aging
  • Chronic diseases
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Medicine(all)


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