Becoming Disabled May Up Risk of Developing Diabetes

Functional decline at any level is associated with increased risk of diabetes among older adults

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FRIDAY, Feb. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Functional decline and physical disability may increase the subsequent risk of diabetes in older adults, according to research published online Feb. 18 in Diabetes Care.

Barbara H. Bardenheier, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted an observational study of 22,878 adults aged 51 years or older who did not have diabetes at baseline. Disability status was assessed at baseline, and at follow-up, participants reported on disability status and diagnosis of diabetes by a doctor.

The researchers found that 41.2 percent of participants reported some level of mobility disability at baseline. At an average of 8.7 years of follow-up, an additional 35.7 percent of participants developed mobility disability and 15.5 percent developed diabetes. A statistically significant dose-response relationship was found between level of mobility disability, prevalent or incident, and risk of diabetes. According to level of mobility disability (mild, moderate, or severe), the increased risk of diabetes in the main study group ranged from 28 to 63 percent.

"Those with severe disability prior to the baseline or during the study were at 63.0 percent higher risk of reporting a diabetes diagnosis than those with no disability," the authors write.

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