Risk of Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality: Impact of Impaired Health-Related Functioning and Diabetes Mellitus

The Australian Diabetes Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AUSDIAB)

  1. Robyn J. Tapp, PHD4
  1. 1International Public Health Unit, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2International Centre for Circulatory Health, NHLI, St. Mary’s Hospital and Imperial College London, London, U.K.
  3. 3Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia
  4. 4National Vision Research Institute, Australian College of Optometry, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Corresponding author: Emily Williams, emily.d.williams{at}


OBJECTIVE There is an established link between health-related functioning (HRF) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, and it is known that those with diabetes predominantly die of CVD. However, few studies have determined the combined impact of diabetes mellitus and impaired HRF on CVD mortality. We investigated whether this combination carries a higher CVD risk than either component alone.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS The Australian Diabetes Obesity and Lifestyle study (AusDiab) included 11,247 adults aged ≥25 years from 42 randomly selected areas of Australia. At baseline (1999–2000), diabetes status was defined using the World Health Organization criteria and HRF was assessed using the SF-36 questionnaire.

RESULTS Overall, after 7.4 years of follow-up, 57 persons with diabetes and 105 without diabetes had died from CVD. In individuals with and without diabetes, HRF measures were significant predictors of increased CVD mortality. The CVD mortality risks among those with diabetes or impaired physical health component summary (PCS) alone were similar (diabetes only: hazard ratio 1.4 [95% CI 0.7–2.7]; impaired PCS alone: 1.5 [1.0–2.4]), while those with both diabetes and impaired PCS had a much higher CVD mortality (2.8 [1.6–4.7]) compared with those without diabetes and normal PCS (after adjustment for multiple covariates). Similar results were found for the mental health component summary.

CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrates that the combination of diabetes and impaired HRF is associated with substantially higher CVD mortality. This suggests that, among those with diabetes, impaired HRF is likely to be important in the identification of individuals at increased risk of CVD mortality.

  • Received July 7, 2011.
  • Accepted February 1, 2012.

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  1. Diabetes Care
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