Self-reported health status was measured using the standardised instrument EQ-5D. The descriptive system used consists of five dimensions: mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain or discomfort, and anxiety or depression. For each dimension, participants are asked to rate their health state ‘today’ according to the following scale:
- having no problems;
- having slight problems;
- having moderate problems;
- having severe problems; or
- having extreme problems (pain or discomfort, anxiety or depression), or being unable to perform activities such as walking about (mobility), wash or dress themselves (self-care), and do usual activities.
Diabetes is characterised by high blood glucose levels (hyperglycaemia). Untreated, hyperglycaemia is associated with damage and possible failure of many organs, especially the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and blood vessels. HSE measures diabetes in two ways; The prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed diabetes, and additionally, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels are measured in blood samples collected at the nurse visit. Raised levels HbA1c 48mmol/mol or above are diagnostic of diabetes.
High cholesterol is considered one of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, including narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack, and stroke. Cholesterol levels were measured via blood samples taken at the nurse visit. Raised total cholesterol is defined as total cholesterol equal to or greater than 5mmol/L.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is an important public health challenge worldwide because of its high prevalence and the associated increase in risk of other diseases. It is defined as a systolic blood pressure (SBP) at or above 140mmHg, or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) at or above 90mmHg, or on medication prescribed for high blood pressure.
Adult self reported health status
Adults with no health problems
Health problems were those as self-reported through the EQ-5D questionnaire.
41% of adults reported no health problems across any of the five dimensions. More men than women reported no health problems (44% of men and 39% of women).
The proportion decreased with age from 56% of men and 48% of women aged 16 to 24, to 22% of men and 19% of women aged 75 and over.
Social care for older adults
The social care report examines need for social care among adults aged 65 and over in England in 2018 and the extent to which these older adults receive the support they need.
Questions on social care have been asked in the survey since 2011. The need for and receipt of social care among older people is measured using a number of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs).
ADLs are activities relating to personal care and mobility about the home that are basic to daily living. IADLs are activities which, while not fundamental to functioning, are important aspects of living independently.
If participants indicated that they needed help for any ADL or IADL, they were then asked whether they had received any help in the last month. Unmet need has been identified where participants indicated that they needed help with a particular ADL or IADL but had not received any help with it in the last month. For further information please refer to the 'Social care for older adults' topic report.
Need for help
Older adults with need for help in last month
27% of older adults needed help with at least one ADL in the last month; 22% of men and 31% of women.
Similarly, 26% needed help with at least one IADL in the last month; 20% of men and 32% of women.
Need for help increased with age for both ADLs and IADLs.