Demography of Aging and Pain

Pain is a major population-health problem, especially among older adults.  A large proportion of older persons report suffering from chronic pain.  According to the Institute of Medicine, the number is greater than those affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined.  The economic burden of pain is enormous, and pain is unmistakably a determinant of quality of life for individuals.  Research has indicated that pain is the single most highly reported health problem among older adults and one of the most commons reason for health care utilization.  Beyond examining the demographic composition of pain, this stream investigates population trends in prevalence, links between pain and disability, individual pain trajectories, life expectancies with and without pain, and other aspects of pain that can be best examined through demographic methods

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Figure 1 from “Life Expectancy with and without pain in the US. Population and status-based estimates for percent of remaining life expected with pain. (A and B) indicates the percent of remaining life expected to be lived with milder nonlimiting and severe or limiting pain by age and sex, for the total population estimated from population-based multistate life table modeling. (C and D) indicates these percentage for the subset of the population that report no pain at baseline, estimated from status-based multistate life table modeling. (E and F) indicates these percentage for the subset of the population that report milder nonlimiting pain at baseline, estimated from status-based multistate life table modeling. (G and H) indicates these percentage for the subset of the population that report severe or limiting pain at baseline, estimated from status-based multistate life table modeling.

Current publications:

Zachary Zimmer and Sara Rubin.  Life expectancy with and without pain in the U.S. elderly Population. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.  71(9): 1171-1176.

Sara Rubin and Zachary Zimmer. Pain and self-assessed health: Does the association vary by age? Social Science and Medicine. 130(April): 259-267.