COVID-19 pandemic impact on ncds prevalence among the elderly in italy
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University of Pisa Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery via Paolo Savi 10, Pisa Italy
Istituto Superiore di Sanità Valentina Minardi Istituto Superiore di Sanità Italy
Istituto Superiore di Sanità Italy Maria Masocco Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A60
Background and Objectives:
The COVID-19 pandemic had a severe direct and indirect impact on older adults. In Italy, from 2020 to January 2022, the excess of all-cause mortality was 178.000 deaths, compared to the period 2015-2019, mainly among people aged over 80(74,6% of the excess). This study aims to assess the Non-Communicable Diseases(NCDs) prevalence among the elderly in Italy after two years of the pandemic.

We used data on the elderly population(65+) collected from 2016 to 2021 by the Italian ongoing surveillance system PASSI d’Argento to analyze socio-demographic characteristics and NCDs prevalence. We compared pre-pandemic(2016-2019) and pandemic period(2020-2021).

In the pandemic period, 6 of 10 people aged over 65 referred to have been diagnosed with one or more NCDs in their lifetime: 28% cardiopathy, 20% diabetes, and 13% cancer. A condition of polichronicity(2 or more NCDs) was reported in 1 of 4 cases. People older than 85 years old, residents in the South, having economic difficulties or a lower level of education were at higher risk of having two or more NCDs. Differences by sex were not found significant. The temporal analysis of the NCDs prevalence did not show significant changes between 2016 and 2019, except for an upward trend in polychronicity. In 2020-2021 there was a reversal of this trend, with differences at the limit of statistical significance: people with poly-chronicity decreased from 62%(60.2-61.6) in 2019 to 59%(58.1-60.7) in 2021. Oppositely, in the age-group 18-64, the NCDs trend remained unvaried.

The NCDs prevalence showed a decrease compared to the pre-pandemic period. It may be explained by the excess of mortality caused by the pandemic. Having an agile system that can monitor changes in the elderly it is essential to identify their needs and implement targeted actions to improve the offer of the national healthcare system.

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