Document Type

Article

Department

Community Health Sciences

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To presents socio-demographic characteristics and health seeking behaviour of elderly and to determine frequency of Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension in elderly population of a poor peri-urban community in Karachi, Pakistan.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted, targeting population aged 65 or above. A total of 438 respondents were interviewed after taking informed consent, between November 2005 and December 2005. Frequencies and Chi square values were calculated for different variables using SPSS 13.0.

RESULTS: Total population surveyed comprised of 438 elderly, 158 (36%) women and 280 (63.9%) men. Mean age for the population was 71.44 +/- 7.74. A total of 238 (54.3%) elderly were found to be economically active. More than half (n = 269, 61.4%) of the elderly were found to be illiterate. Only 72 (16.4%) of the elderly population were Diabetic and 132 (30.1%) were Hypertensive. Common symptoms that prompted elderly of Azam Basti to seek health care were fever (61.2%), generalized body aches (43.4%) and cough (40.4%). Over half of the (n = 269, 61.4%) responders reported factors which deterred them from seeking health care, out of which 62% reported financial constraint as the commonest factor. Deterrence from seeking health care was associated with illiteracy (p = 0.001) and living alone (p = 0.06).

CONCLUSION: The elderly population of this peri-urban community has financial constraints in seeking health care. Hypertension was found to be more prevalent among women as compared to men, ratio being 1:2. Less number of people knew they were diabetics; this might be attributed to ignorance and non-availability of investigations and screening.

Publication

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association

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