Peripheral edema: A common and persistent health problem for older Americans.

TitlePeripheral edema: A common and persistent health problem for older Americans.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBesharat, S, Grol-Prokopczyk, H, Gao, S, Feng, C, Akwaa, F, Gewandter, JS
JournalPLoS One
ISSN Number1932-6203
KeywordsAged, Aged, 80 and over, Cross-Sectional Studies, Edema, ethnicity, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Lower Extremity, Male, Middle Aged, Mobility Limitation, Prognosis, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States

Peripheral edema (i.e., lower limb swelling) can cause pain, weakness, and limited range of motion. However, few studies have examined its prevalence in the U.S. or its association with demographics, comorbidities, activity, or mobility. This study used data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of U.S. adults (age 51+/ N = 19,988 for 2016), to evaluate time trends and correlates of peripheral edema using weighted descriptive statistics and logistic regressions, respectively. Peripheral edema was assessed with the question "Have you had… // Persistent swelling in your feet or ankles?" The weighted prevalence of edema among older U.S. adults was 19% to 20% between 2000 and 2016. Peripheral edema was associated with older age, female sex, non-white race, low wealth, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, pain, low activity levels, and mobility limitations (odds ratios ranging from 1.2-5.6; p-values ≤0.001). This study provides the first estimates of national prevalence and correlates of peripheral edema among older Americans. Peripheral edema is common and strongly associated with comorbidities, pain, low activity levels, and mobility limitations, and disproportionately affects poorer and minority groups. Peripheral edema should be a focus of future research in order to develop novel and cost-effective interventions.

Citation Key12144
PubMed ID34914717
PubMed Central IDPMC8675752
Grant ListU01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States