Chronic rheumatologic symptoms in a tri-ethnic sample of men and women aged 75 and older

Shiva Satish, Luis G. Postigo, Laura A. Ray, James S. Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background. The high prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms in elderly persons tends to obscure the recognition of specific medical conditions, The purpose of this study is to describe the prevalence of chronic rheumatologic symptoms and the associated measures of health status in an older population. Methods. This is a cross-sectional study of 507 noninstitutionalized tri-ethnic men and women aged 75 and older living in Galveston County, Texas. A home interview collected data on demographics, chronic medical conditions, cognition, depression, and functional status. Site, severity, and duration of rheumatologic symptoms such as morning stiffness, body tenderness, and body aching in the past month were also collected. Results. There was a high prevalence of nonspecific rheumatologic symptoms such as morning stiffness (32% in the shoulder girdle, 31% in the hip girdle), tenderness to touch (9%), and generalized body aching (11%) in the study population. Twenty-one percent of the subjects reported either bilateral shoulder or hip girdle stiffness or tenderness lasting more than 30 minutes almost every day or every day or generalized body aching most of the time during the past month. Age-, gender-, and ethnicity-adjusted multivariate analyses showed that more than three self-reported chronic medical conditions, poor or fair self-reported health, impairment in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), and the presence of depressive or anxiety symptoms were associated with the presence of these chronic rheumatologic symptoms. Conclusion. Chronic rheumatologic symptoms are common in people aged 75 and older. Such symptoms are markers for underlying poor health and for anxiety and depression among older subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)M471-M476
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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