Veterans with diabetes carry heavy
Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD,
A study of a large group of veterans
with diabetes reveals that many of them suffer from other diseases and often
need hospital treatment.
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine looked at a 33,481 veterans who had
diabetes and found they carry a heavy burden of ill health. For instance, 73
per cent had high blood pressure and 35 per cent some form of heart trouble.
And nearly a third had alcohol or drug abuse problems, while 23 per cent had a
psychotic disorder - all of which would make self-management of diabetes
Over a course of a year, the average
patient in this study spent eight days in hospital and 23 days in outpatient
services. Of the 40 per cent of those hospitalized one or more times during
the year, three quarters had multiple hospital stays. The participants also
had a significant death rate - with a one in 20 chance of dying during a given
These results accord with similar
studies on veterans health although they may be worse than for people with
diabetes as a whole. The individuals in this study were chosen from those
hospitalized for an acute diabetes-related condition and over half were aged
65 or older.
American Journal of Managed Care February 2003