Systemic Inflammation among Older Adults: Differences by Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Age

Uchechi Mitchell, University of Southern California
Carol S. Aneshensel, University of California, Los Angeles

Systemic inflammation, as measured by levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), differs by race/ethnicity and by gender: racial minorities and women experience greater inflammation than non-Hispanic whites and men, respectively. Less is known about how these differentials vary by age. Therefore, we use nationally representative data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to assess whether racial/ethnic and gender differences in CRP vary by age groups defined as: late midlife (age 52-64), early old-age (age 65-74), and late old-age (75+ years). We find evidence for age variations in the gender difference in inflammation but not for racial differences. The gender difference is present in late mid-life, lessens in early old-age and is no longer significant in late old-age. Thus, our study demonstrates that subgroup differences in inflammation are not entirely homogeneous among older adults and that this heterogeneity may be masked when variation by age is not taken into consideration.

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 Presented in Session P5. Adult Health and Mortality