Chronic disorders, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes, are the leading cause of mortality globally, representing 68% of all recorded deaths. The incidence of chronic disease and multiple chronic disease is rising across the world, but relatively little is known about the impact of multi-morbidities on the life experiences of those individuals who encounter them. In this paper, we examine and quantify the relationship between chronic illness, multi-morbidity and the individual self-assessed health of the Russian population using individual-level Russian data and a novel quantitative technique.
We apply a partial proportional odds framework to a rich data set incorporating demographic, socio-economic and health indicators in Russia.
We find that individuals with chronic conditions report significantly lower levels of health than those without chronic conditions, but that the strength of the effect is much more pronounced for males than for females (e.g. neurological disease: odds ratio [OR]=4.81 for men; OR=1.86 for women)). As the number of co-morbidities increases, there is a dramatic decrease in the likelihood of reporting good health for both males and females, but for males there is a greater increase in the likelihood of reporting bad health (OR=49.31 for males with =5 diseases; OR=28.05 for females).
More than 40% of Russians currently live with multi-morbidity, and this group is at the highest risk of reporting poor self-rated health. This research adds to the body of evidence demonstrating the challenges facing health-care systems as new patterns of disease take hold in contemporary society.