Published in the scientific journal BMC Public Health, the
FMUP study revealed that the risk of multimorbidity (having two or more health
problems) in a person increases by 4% per year.
Among the most frequent health problems are cases of
osteoarticular pain, hypertension, diabetes, heart problems, asthma and cancer,
underlines the study.
The authors of the study - Rosália Easter, Andreia Teixeira,
Hugo Monteiro, Filipe Prazeres and Carlos Martins - considered multimorbidity
"excessive" in Portugal and pointed out the need to optimize the
prevention of non-communicable diseases to improve the population's health.
To obtain these data, researchers evaluated 891 people over
20 years old and found that practically half of them had two or more associated
The results revealed that 21.1% of respondents had two
health problems, 12.1% three, 7.7% four and 8% five or more.
“This is a recognized fundamental public health problem,
since we are talking about situations with increased health needs, which ends
up translating into an increase in the workload at the level of health
services”, said Rosália Easter, professor at FMUP and researcher at the
Research Center for Health Technologies and Services (CINTESIS).
In this work, in which researchers analyzed the prevalence
of multimorbidity in Portugal and its association with lifestyles and
sociodemographic factors, it was concluded that excessive screen time and poor
sleep quality are associated with a risk increased risk of suffering from two
or more illnesses, as well as high levels of stress.
Regarding smoking habits, participants who stopped smoking
more than a year ago had a 91% increase in the risk of multimorbidity compared
to those who never smoked.
According to the authors, a possible interpretation “may be
related to the fact that the majority of smokers quit smoking only after being
diagnosed with a health problem”.
Therefore, the researchers stressed that the path towards a
healthy life will go through good habits such as not smoking, good quality of
sleep, moderate exposure to screens and adequate management of stress levels,
factors with the greatest impact on multimorbidity.