Influence of Health Care Providers on the Development of Diabetes Complications
Long-term follow-up from the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications Study
- Janice C. Zgibor, PHD1,
- Thomas J. Songer, PHD1,
- Sheryl F. Kelsey, PHD1,
- Allan L. Drash, MD2 and
- Trevor J. Orchard, MD1
- 1Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- 2Department of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
OBJECTIVE—To quantify total diabetes care received (generalist or specialist) from diagnosis onward and its association with the incidence of diabetes complications in a representative cohort of patients with type 1 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—A total of 429 subjects from the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications Study, a prospective follow-up study of childhood-onset type 1 diabetic subjects first seen between 1986 and 1988 (mean age 28 years, mean duration 19 years), followed biennially for up to 10 years were studied. Specialist care was defined as care received from a board-certified endocrinologist, diabetologist, or diabetes clinic and quantified as the percent of diabetes duration spent in specialist care.
RESULTS—There was a significant trend for a higher incidence of neuropathy, overt nephropathy, and coronary artery disease with lower use of specialist care. Multivariate analyses controlling for diabetes duration, demographic characteristics, health care practices, and physiological risk factors demonstrated that higher past use of specialist care was found to be significantly protective against the development of overt nephropathy (risk ratio 0.43, 95% CI 0.21–0.88) and neuropathy (0.54, 0.35–0.83) and weakly protective against coronary artery disease (0.65, 0.37–1.1).
CONCLUSIONS—A higher proportion of diabetes duration spent in specialist care may result in delayed development of certain diabetes complications independent of other risk factors. This study thus supports the concept that the benefits of specialist care should be available to all patients with type 1 diabetes.
- AER, albumin excretion rate
- CAD, coronary artery disease
- CDSP, confirmed distal symmetric polyneuropathy
- DCCT, Diabetes Control and Complications Trial
- DCHS, Diabetes Care History Survey
- DSP, distal symmetric polyneuropathy
- EDC, Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications Study
- LEAD, lower-extremity arterial disease
- ON, overt nephropathy
- PR, proliferative retinopathy
- RR, risk ratio
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Janice Zgibor, PhD, Rm. 214, DLR Building, 3512 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213. E-mail:.
Received for publication 21 November 2001 and accepted in revised form 30 April 2002.
A table elsewhere in this issue shows conventional and Système International (SI) units and conversion factors for many substances.
See accompanying editorials on p. 1654 and p. 1657.
- DIABETES CARE