Diabetes as a Predictor of Change in Functional Status Among Older Mexican Americans

A population-based cohort study

  1. Jasmanda H. Wu, PHD1,
  2. Mary N. Haan, DRPH1,
  3. Jersey Liang, PHD2,
  4. Debashis Ghosh, PHD3,
  5. Hector M. Gonzalez, PHD1 and
  6. William H. Herman, MD14
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  2. 2Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  3. 3Department of Biostatistics, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  4. 4Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE—Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that older Mexican Americans are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and its complications. Type 2 diabetes leads to a more rapid decline in functional status among older Mexican Americans with diabetes. This study was designed to examine the impact of diabetes on change in self-reported functional status over a 2-year period among older Mexican Americans with diabetes.

    RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—We performed a longitudinal analysis with repeated measurements of functional limitations in a cohort of Mexican Americans aged ≥60 years in the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (SALSA). Diabetes was diagnosed on the basis of self-report of physician diagnosis, medication use, and fasting plasma glucose. Functional status was measured by assessment of activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) at baseline and 1 and 2 years.

    RESULTS—Of 1,789 SALSA participants, 585 (33%) had diabetes at baseline. Diabetic subjects reported 74% more limitations than nondiabetic subjects in ADL (summary score for number of limitations, 0.99 vs. 0.57; P = 0.002) and 50% more limitations in IADL (summary score for number of limitations, 7.83 vs. 5.25; P < 0.0001). The annual rate of increase in limitations of ADL and IADL was 0.046 and 0.033 (log scale) on each scale among diabetic subjects compared with 0.013 and 0.003 (log scale) among nondiabetic subjects (P < 0.0005). Complications of diabetes were found to increase ADL and IADL limitations among diabetic subjects. Longer duration of diabetes was also associated with an increase in ADL and IADL limitations.

    CONCLUSIONS—There was lower baseline functional status and a more rapid decline in functional status among older Mexican Americans with diabetes versus those without diabetes.

    Footnotes

    • Address correspondence and reprint requests to Mary N. Haan, MPH, DrPH, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029. E-mail: mnhaan{at}umich.edu.

      Received for publication 17 January 2002 and accepted in revised form 14 October 2002.

      A table elsewhere in this issue shows conventional and Système International (SI) units and conversion factors for many substances.

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