Strong link of diabetes and physical disability seen in later life

A new study published in the journal the “Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology” has thrown light on a strong nexus between people who have diabetes with having a much higher chances of developing physical disability in the later stages of their life. Older people with diabetes are fifty to eighty percent more likely to develop physical disability than those without as per the review of 26 studies. However, no distinction was made between type-1 and type-2 diabetes but most of the data that was collected involved people over the age of 65 and those who are more likely to have type-2 diabetes.

A systematic review of data showed that diabetes was associated with a 71% has increased odds of mobility with an increased relative risk of 51% in patients with an average age of 55 years as per the study carried on by Evelyn Wong, MPH of the Alfred Center in Melbourne, Australia and colleagues. Disability is normally defined as the impaired mobility and inability to perform day-to-day activities such as bathing, eating, shopping or using transport.

Further, researchers noted that the global prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled over the past 30 years and that condition comes with increased risks of disabling disorders such as cardiovascular disease, renal failure and retinopathy. The Australian researchers explained that the reasons behind the link are unclear but high blood sugar levels may lead to muscle damage over time. Further, the complications associated with diabetes such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease can all result in physical disability.

Previous studies have given somewhat confusing picture of the scale of link between diabetes and disability with estimates ranging from zero risk to double the risk. Dr.Edward Gregg, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta- United States said that the new analysis was the first one to quantify the extent of diabetes linked with disability. The study sample sizes were as large as 66,813 and as small as 369 that included the participants with the mean baseline age of 55 but majority of them were older than 55. However, none of the studies has defined the reason of diabetes. Monash University, the Baker IDI Bright Sparks Foundation, the Australian Postgraduate Award, ViC Health, the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council and the Victorian Government supported the study for this research.

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