Disease profile among the elderly in a rural community in Nigeria.

Ikpae BE1, Amadi ES2,3*
1Department of Accident and Emergency, University of Port Harcourt, Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
2Department of Internal Medicine (Dermatology Unit), Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
3Department of Internal Medicine, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
*Correspondence: Dr. Ekechi Stella Amadi; ekechiamadi @yahoo.com

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Background: Worldwide, the population of the elderly is steadily increasing even in the rural areas. There is paucity of data with regards to the prevalent diseases that affect the elderly in rural communities particularly in Nigeria.
Objective: To determine the disease profile of the elderly in a rural community.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study of the elderly in Wiyaakara, a rural community in Rivers State, Nigeria, who were among the participants in a one-day medical outreach carried out in the community.
Result: The elderly (age ≥ 60 years old) were 12.1% (37) of the participants at the rural medical outreach. There were more males 56.8% (21) than females 43.2% (16) among the elderly. Majority of the elderly were in social class V, mainly consisting of farmers and fishermen. Hypertension (51.3%) was the major chronic disorder seen among them, with males and females almost equally affected. Prehypertension was found in 37.8% of them. Most (n=23) of the elderly had a normal BMI. Other prevalent health conditions seen among them were presbyopia and cataracts. About 13% of the elderly had no acute or chronic medical illness at the time of this survey.
Conclusion: The major cause of ill health among the elderly population surveyed in this rural community was hypertension. A quarter of the elderly population were also in the prehypertension phase. Health care for the elderly in rural areas need to be improved including specialist care.

Keywords: Elderly, Health, Hypertension, Older, Rural

Cite this article: Ikpae BE, Amadi ES. Disease profile among the elderly in a rural community in Nigeria. Yen Med J. 2021;3(4):212–219.


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