Dementia and co-occurring chronic conditions: a systematic literature review to identify what is known and where are the gaps in the evidence?

Mark B. Snowden, Lesley E. Steinman, Lucinda L. Bryant, Monique M. Cherrier, Kurt J. Greenlund, Katherine H. Leith, Cari Levy, Rebecca G. Logsdon, Catherine Copeland, Mia Vogel, Lynda A. Anderson, David C. Atkins, Janice F Bell, Annette L. Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: The challenges posed by people living with multiple chronic conditions are unique for people with dementia and other significant cognitive impairment. There have been recent calls to action to review the existing literature on co-occurring chronic conditions and dementia in order to better understand the effect of cognitive impairment on disease management, mobility, and mortality. Methods: This systematic literature review searched PubMed databases through 2011 (updated in 2016) using key constructs of older adults, moderate-to-severe cognitive impairment (both diagnosed and undiagnosed dementia), and chronic conditions. Reviewers assessed papers for eligibility and extracted key data from each included manuscript. An independent expert panel rated the strength and quality of evidence and prioritized gaps for future study. Results: Four thousand thirty-three articles were identified, of which 147 met criteria for review. We found that moderate-to-severe cognitive impairment increased risks of mortality, was associated with prolonged institutional stays, and decreased function in persons with multiple chronic conditions. There was no relationship between significant cognitive impairment and use of cardiovascular or hypertensive medications for persons with these comorbidities. Prioritized areas for future research include hospitalizations, disease-specific outcomes, diabetes, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, depression, falls, stroke, and multiple chronic conditions. Conclusions: This review summarizes that living with significant cognitive impairment or dementia negatively impacts mortality, institutionalization, and functional outcomes for people living with multiple chronic conditions. Our findings suggest that chronic-disease management interventions will need to address co-occurring cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-371
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • aging
  • cognitive impairment
  • dementia
  • multiple chronic conditions
  • public health
  • systematic literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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