Unequal Care for Poor Diabetics

Diabetes risk and health care linked to poverty

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

(RxWiki News) Being poor makes it hard to afford many important things in life, especially health care. As such, many poor people suffer from higher rates of disease and lack of health care coverage.

People who are poor may be more likely to develop diabetes. What's more, these people may be less likely to get the diabetes care they need.

"See a doctor regularly if you have diabetes."

In their recent study, Jur-San Cheng, PhD,of Chang Gung University in Taiwan, and colleagues wanted to see if poverty boosted the risk of diabetes and if income differences led to inequality of care.

The researchers ran their study in Taiwan, a country that has universal health coverage.

They found that poor people were 2.2 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes during hospitalization, compared to their middle-income counterparts.

In addition, poor people with diabetes were less likely than middle-income diabetes patients to visit a diabetes clinic or to get diabetes testing.

The authors concluded that poverty is linked to higher rates of diabetes and more inequality of diabetes care, even when everyone has access to health care.

For their study, Dr. Cheng and colleagues followed 600,662 people for five years. The rate of type 2 diabetes among poor people was 20.4 cases per 1,000 person-years.

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

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Review Date: 
August 24, 2012
Last Updated:
August 27, 2012