Cover: Correlates of Hypoalbuminemia in Community-Dwelling Older Persons

Correlates of Hypoalbuminemia in Community-Dwelling Older Persons

Published in: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, v. 66, no. 1, July 1997, p. 38-45

Posted on 1997

by David Reuben, Alison A. Moore, Mark Damesyn, Emmett B. Keeler, Gail G. Harrison, Gail A. Greendale

To identify easily ascertainable sociodemographic and health characteristics that are associated with hypoalbuminemia in community-dwelling older persons, the authors used data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This population-based stratified probability sample survey included 4728 persons aged 55-74 years. They defined hypoalbuminemia in two ways: less than 35 g/L (1.2% of the sample) or less than or equal to 38 g/l (7.9% of the sample) and used multivariate logistic models to identify independent predictors of hypoalbuminemia. Older age; receiving welfare; a condition interfering with eating; vomiting greater than or equal to 3 d/mo; previous surgery for gastrointestinal tumor; self-reported heart failure; recurring cough attacks; feeling tired or worn-out; edentulous, fair, or poor condition of teeth; little or no exercise; a low-salt diet; trouble chewing meat; self-reported protein albumin, blood, or sugar in urine; and current cigarette smoking were independently associated with albuminemia (less than or equal to 38 g/L) or progressively lower albumin concentrations < 40 g/L. Persons with 3-5 of these factors (51.5% of the sample) had an odds ratio of 2.73 (95% CI: 1.64, 4.54) and those with greater than or equal to 6 factors (9.4% of the sample) had an odds ratio of 6.44 (95% CI: 3.49, 11.86) of albuminemia less than or equal to 38 g/L compared with those with 0-2 risk factors (39.1% of the sample). These findings suggest that several easily assessed sociodemographic, lifestyle, and disease-related factors are associated with hypoalbuminemia and might be valuable items to include on general health surveys to identify older persons who have this marker of poor health status.

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