Money Matters in Diabetes

Diabetes patients with lower socioeconomic status may have higher risk of death and heart problems

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Advances in our knowledge and treatment of diabetes have led to better outcomes for patients. Still, there may be a widening gap in outcomes between the rich and the poor.

Poorer diabetes patients may have a higher risk death, heart attack or stroke, compared to diabetes patients with more money.

"Eat healthy and exercise - your body will thank you."

In a recent study, Gillian L. Booth, MD, of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues wanted to see if differences in income affected the risk of complications and death in people with diabetes. They also wanted to see if these differences decreased when patients reached the age of 65.

The researchers found that diabetes patients under 65 with a lower socioeconomic status (a measure of wealth and education) had a higher risk of death, nonfatal heart attack or nonfatal stroke, compared to those with a higher socioeconomic status (hazard ratio of 1.51).

Once patients reached the age of 65, however, there was a smaller difference in risk between wealthier and poorer patients, with a hazard ratio of 1.12.

A hazard ratio explains how much an event happens in one group versus another group. In this case, that event is the risk of death, heart attack or stroke. A hazard ratio of more than 1.0 means the event happens more often in one group than the other.

This study was done on Canadian patients. As such, further research is needed to see if these findings apply to patients in the United States.

The study included more than 606,000 adults with diabetes.

The results were published August 13 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

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Review Date: 
August 19, 2012
Last Updated:
August 28, 2012