Overlapping Chronic Diseases

The NYTimes.com has a great visualization (dynamic) on the chronic disease that the elderly develop. This certain helps to show some interconnections and gaps in our knowledge.

A Venn diagram based on data from the study, by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2010, shows just how often these three conditions coincide in patients, and why this overlap is becoming an important new field of study.

There are more than 733,000 people in American assisted living facilities. People move there when they, or their families, decide they need help with daily activities, like dressing, but don’t need the fuller medical services of a nursing home.
The study found that more than half the residents are 85 or older. Researchers were surprised that so many required medical care. “These findings suggest a vulnerable population with a high burden of functional and cognitive impairment,” the authors wrote in a data brief last year.

Forty-two percent of assisted living residents had dementia. About 9 percent had dementia, high blood pressure and some form of heart disease, like atherosclerosis.

Many studies have suggested a link between vascular disease and dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s, and researchers are focusing on possible interconnections. Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a psychiatry professor at Duke, argues that it may not be possible to treat dementia without treating vascular problems.

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Read and enjoy the visualization here
(via Information Aesthetics)

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