Health literacy, multimorbidity, and patient-perceived treatment burden in individuals with cardiovascular disease. A Danish population-based study

Karina Friis; Mathias Lasgaard; Marie Hauge Pedersen; Polly Duncan; Helle Terkildsen Maindal


The aim was to investigate the association between: 1) multimorbidity and high treatment burden 2) health literacy and high treatment burden, and 3) the interaction between multimorbidity and health literacy in relation to high treatment burden.


We included respondents with cardiovascular disease who participated in a Danish population-based survey from 2017 (N=2,111). Logistic regression analyses were used to study associations. 


The study showed that multimorbid individuals with cardiovascular disease were more likely to experience a high treatment burden than individuals with cardiovascular disease only (2+ additional conditions OR 4.16 (2.80-6.18)). Also, individuals with difficulties in understanding health information were more likely to report a high treatment burden than individuals who found it easy to understand information about health (OR 9.97 (6.23-15.95)). Finally, individuals with multimorbidity and difficulties in understanding health information had markedly higher odds of experiencing a high treatment burden.


If individuals find it difficult to understand health information, there is a risk they might feel overwhelmed by the treatment. 

Practice implications:

Healthcare professionals should be aware of health literacy challenges in planning medical treatment particularly for patients with both low health literacy levels and multimorbidity.

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Udgivelsesform Videnskabelige artikler
År 2019
Udgiver Patient Education and Counseling