Trajectories in chronic disease accrual and mortality across the lifespan in Wales, UK (2005-2019), by area deprivation profile: linked electronic health records cohort study on 965,905 individuals.

Jane Lyons, Ashley Akbari, Keith R Abrams, Amaya Azcoaga-Lorenzo, Thamer Ba Dhafari, James Chess, Spiros Denaxas, Richard Fry, Chris P Pale, John Gallacher, Lucy Griffiths, Bruce Guthrie, Marlous Hall, Farideh Jalali-najafabadi, Ann John, Clare MacRae, Colin McCowan, Niels Peek, Dermot O'Reilly, James RaffertyRonan A Lyons, Rhiannon K Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Understanding and quantifying the differences in disease development in different socioeconomic groups of people across the lifespan is important for planning healthcare and preventive services. The study aimed to measure chronic disease accrual, and examine the differences in time to individual morbidities, multimorbidity, and mortality between socioeconomic groups in Wales, UK.

METHODS: Population-wide electronic linked cohort study, following Welsh residents for up to 20 years (2000-2019). Chronic disease diagnoses were obtained from general practice and hospitalisation records using the CALIBER disease phenotype register. Multi-state models were used to examine trajectories of accrual of 132 diseases and mortality, adjusted for sex, age and area-level deprivation. Restricted mean survival time was calculated to measure time spent free of chronic disease(s) or mortality between socioeconomic groups.

FINDINGS: In total, 965,905 individuals aged 5-104 were included, from a possible 2.9 m individuals following a 5-year clearance period, with an average follow-up of 13.2 years (12.7 million person-years). Some 673,189 (69.7%) individuals developed at least one chronic disease or died within the study period. From ages 10 years upwards, the individuals living in the most deprived areas consistently experienced reduced time between health states, demonstrating accelerated transitions to first and subsequent morbidities and death compared to their demographic equivalent living in the least deprived areas. The largest difference were observed in 10 and 20 year old males developing multimorbidity (-0.45 years (99% CI: -0.45, -0.44)) and in 70 year old males dying after developing multimorbidity (-1.98 years (99% CI: -2.01, -1.95)).

INTERPRETATION: This study adds to the existing literature on health inequalities by demonstrating that individuals living in more deprived areas consistently experience accelerated time to diagnosis of chronic disease and death across all ages, accounting for competing risks.

FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council, Health Data Research UK, and Administrative Data Research Wales.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100687
Number of pages13
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health Europe
Early online date17 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Chronic disease
  • Mortality
  • Disease trajectories
  • Population-wide
  • Health equity


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