Relationship between Chronic Conditions and Disability in African American Men and Women

Roland J. Thorpe, Anastasia J. Wynn, Janiece L. Walker, Jenny R. Smolen, Michael P. Cary, Sarah L. Szanton, Keith E. Whitfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Race differences in chronic conditions and disability are well established; however, little is known about the association between specific chronic conditions and disability in African Americans. This is important because African Americans have higher rates and earlier onset of both chronic conditions and disability than white Americans. Methods We examined the relationship between chronic conditions and disability in 602 African Americans aged 50 years and older in the Baltimore Study of Black Aging. Disability was measured using self-report of difficulty in activities of daily living (ADL). Medical conditions included diagnosed self-reports of asthma, depressive symptoms, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, and hypertension. Results After adjusting for age, high school graduation, income, and marital status, African Americans who reported arthritis (women: odds ratio (OR)=4.87; 95% confidence interval(CI): 2.92-8.12; men: OR=2.93; 95% CI: 1.36-6.30) had higher odds of disability compared to those who did not report having arthritis. Women who reported major depressive symptoms (OR=2.59; 95% CI: 1.43-4.69) or diabetes (OR=1.83; 95% CI: 1.14-2.95) had higher odds of disability than women who did not report having these conditions. Men who reported having CVD (OR=2.77; 95% CI: 1.03-7.41) had higher odds of disability than men who did not report having CVD. Conclusions These findings demonstrate the importance of chronic conditions in understanding disability in African Americans and how it varies by gender. Also, these findings underscore the importance of developing health promoting strategies focused on chronic disease prevention and management to delay or postpone disability in African Americans. Publication Indices Pubmed, Pubmed Central, Web of Science database.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Volume108
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • chronic conditions
  • disability
  • health disparities
  • men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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