According to a research study, 'Progression of diabetes, heart disease and stroke multimorbidity in middle-aged women: a 20-year cohort study,' funded by the Australian Government's Department of Health, and published in an online journal, there may very well be chances for a co-occurrence of two or three lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke and they may progress from one to another sequentially through the life course. In the study, stroke was associated with increased risk of progression to diabetes or heart disease. Social inequality, obesity, hypertension, physical inactivity, smoking, or having other chronic conditions were also significantly associated with increased odds of accumulating multimorbidity. The findings from the study highlight the importance of awareness of the role of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke multimorbidity among middle-aged women.
In a study that spanned twenty years, 14,000 women aged between 45–50 years were enrolled in 1996, without a history of any of the three conditions. They were surveyed approximately every 3 years until 2016. It was found that over 20 years, about 18.3 per cent women progressed to at least one condition, of whom more than 50 per cent had diabetes and heart disease, and approximately 12 per cent had stroke. "Being separated, divorced, or widowed; having difficulty managing on their available income; being overweight or obese; having hypertension; being physically inactive; being a current smoker; and having prior chronic conditions (i.e., mental disorders, asthma, cancer, osteoporosis, and arthritis) were significantly associated with increased odds of accumulation of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke multimorbidity," the study observed.
Citing the reason for carrying out the study, researchers said they found a gap in the research studies published so far, that investigate how women progress from a healthy state to one of diabetes, heart disease and stroke and then to multimorbidity.