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Compression or expansion of disability among two birth cohorts of US adults with diabetes during the past 20 years?
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  • Alternative Title:
    Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol
  • Description:
    Background The life expectancy of the average American with diabetes has increased, but the level of health and functioning of those extra years are not known. Methods Comparing adults aged 50 to 70 with (n=3,027) and without diabetes (n=9,750), we assessed incident disability, remission from disability, and mortality between population-based Cohort 1 (born 1931-1941, followed 1992 to 2002) and Cohort 2 (born 1942-1947, followed 2002 to 2012), from the Health and Retirement Study. Disability was defined by mobility loss, some difficulty with ≥1 instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), and some difficulty with ≥1 activities of daily living (ADL). Age-specific probabilities representing the two birth cohorts in the U.S. were entered into a five-state Markov model to estimate the number of years of disabled and disability-free life by age 70. Findings Among persons with diabetes, compared with Cohort 1(n=1,071), Cohort 2 (n=300) experienced more disability-free and total years of life, later onset of disability, and fewer disabled years lost. Solutions to the simulations of the Markov models suggest that among 50 year old diabetic men this amounted to a 0.8 to 2.3 year delay in disability across the 3 metrics (mobility p=0.01, IADL p=0.24, ADL p=0.01), while living 0.7 to 1.3 years longer (mobility p<0.0001, IADL p=0.001, ADL p<0.0001); results were similar for women. Parallel improvements in disabled life were gained across cohorts of non-diabetic adults (cohort 1 n=9,218; cohort 2 n=2,727), although non-diabetic adults in both cohort 1 and cohort 2 had significantly more disability-free years (e.g., cohort 1: non-diabetic men from age 50: 17.0 vs diabetic men: 13.0; cohort 2: non-diabetic men from age 50: 17.9 vs diabetic men: 14.8) and fewer life years lost (e.g., cohort 1: non-diabetic men from age 50: 1.2 vs diabetic men: 2.8; cohort 2: non-diabetic men from age 50: 0.6 vs diabetic men: 1.5) than diabetic adults within the two cohorts (p< 0.0001). Interpretation Regardless of diabetes status, adults experienced compression of disability and gains in disability-free life years. Funding None
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