Older Adults Reporting More Diabetes Mellitus Care Have Greater 9-Year Survival

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether receiving more recommended diabetes mellitus (DM) care processes (tests and screenings) would translate into better 9-year survival for middle-aged and older adults.

DESIGN:

Longitudinal mortality analysis using the Health and Retirement Study Diabetes Mailout Survey.

SETTING:

Health and Retirement Study (HRS).

PARTICIPANTS:

Individuals aged 51 and older (n = 1,879; mean age 68.8 ± 8.7, 26.5% aged ≥75) with self-reported DM who completed the Diabetes Mailout Survey and the core 2002 HRS survey.

MEASUREMENTS:

A composite measure of five self-reported diabetes mellitus care process measures were dichotomized as greater (3–5 processes) versus fewer (0–2 processes) care processes provided. Cox proportional hazards models were used to test relationships between reported measures and mortality, controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, function, comorbidities, geriatric conditions, and insulin use.

RESULTS:

Prevalence of self-reported care processes was 80.1% for glycosylated hemoglobin test, 75.9% for urine test, 67.5% for eye examination, 67.7% for aspirin counseling, and 48.2% for diabetes education. In 9 years, 32.1% respondents died. Greater care correlated with 24% lower risk of dying (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.76, 95% confidence interval = 0.64–0.91) at 9-year follow up. When respondents were age-stratified (≥75 vs <75) longer survival was statistically significant only in the older age group.

CONCLUSION:

Although it is not possible to account for differences in adherence to care that may also affect survival, this study demonstrates that monitoring of and counseling about types of DM care processes are associated with long-term survival benefit even in individuals aged 75 and older with DM.

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