Coexisting anxiety disorders alter associations with physical disorders in the elderly: A Taiwan cross-sectional nationwide study

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Abstract

Aim:

We used population-based analyses to explore whether anxiety disorders are associated with certain physical illnesses, as previous studies have suggested, and whether a greater number of comorbid anxiety disorders would influence physical illnesses in the elderly.

Methods:

Using the National Health Insurance Research Database, we included subjects aged over 60 years. The study included 954 subjects with anxiety disorders (as defined by the ICD-9-CM) and 4770 control subjects without anxiety disorders. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated for the risks of physical illnesses in both groups.

Results:

Subjects with anxiety disorders had higher OR for cardiovascular disease (OR = 1.33–2.80), cerebrovascular disease (OR = 2.07), peptic ulcer (OR = 3.41), and hyperlipidemia (OR = 2.99). Furthermore, a greater number of comorbid anxiety disorders may further increase the OR of the aforementioned physical illnesses, except for peripheral vascular disorder, when compared to those without anxiety disorders.

Conclusion:

Elderly subjects with more anxiety disorders may be associated with vascular and metabolic problems. Clinicians should carefully assess the physical illnesses of elderly patients with anxiety disorders.

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