Poverty Ups Diabetic Death Risk

Diabetes patients with low socioeconomic status may have higher risk of death

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) For many patients, controlling diabetes is hard. If you are poor, it can be especially hard to get the care you need. If diabetes raises everyone's risk of death, what's the risk of death for poor diabetes patients?

Poor people with diabetes had a higher risk of death than poor people without diabetes, according to recent research.

Among those with diabetes, poor African Americans had a lower risk of death than poor whites.

"See a doctor regularly if you have diabetes."

In their study, Baqiyyah N. Conway, PhD, of Vanderbilt University, and colleagues set out to measure rates of death and risk factors for death among poor African Americans and whites with diabetes.

After about 6 years, 13.5 percent of people with diabetes and 7.3 percent of those without diabetes died.

Both African Americans and whites with diabetes had a higher risk of death from all causes, compared to those without diabetes.

Compared to African Americans without diabetes, African Americans with diabetes had a hazard ratio of 1.84 for death from all causes.

A hazard ratio explains how much an event happens in one group versus another over a set period of time. A hazard ratio of more than one means that the event happens more in one group than the other.

Compared to whites without diabetes, whites with diabetes had a hazard ratio of 1.80 for death from all causes.

The risk of death was lower among African Americans with diabetes than whites with diabetes, with a hazard ratio of 0.78.

The longer patients had diabetes, the greater their risk of death became.

Diabetes patients with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke had a higher risk of death than those without such histories. Patients taking insulin also had a higher risk of death.

The authors concluded that their findings identified strong predictors of death among poor African Americans and whites with diabetes.

The study included 12,498 people with diabetes and 49,914 without diabetes. All participants were between 40 and 79 years of age.

The research was published August 21 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association. 

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Review Date: 
August 28, 2012
Last Updated:
August 30, 2012