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Impact of Diabetes on Life and Healthy Life Expectancy Among Older Women

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Carol Jagger


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© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: Diabetes is a major chronic condition with ever-increasing health and economic burden. This study aimed to measure the impact of diabetes on total life expectancy (TLE) and healthy life expectancy (HLE) at ages 70 and 80 and to assess how educational level, obesity, and comorbidity affected the expectancies. METHODS: The study involved 9849 population-representative women born between 1921 and 1926 from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH). Self-rated health was obtained from the ALSWH surveys. Diabetes diagnosis was ascertained using survey and health care administrative data. Total life expectancy and HLE were estimated for women with and without diabetes using multistate modeling. RESULTS: Diabetes was associated with an increased risk of poor health (adjusted risk ratio: 1.63, 95% confidence interval: 1.49-1.79). Diabetes was also associated with a reduction of 0.9 years in HLE and 2.6 years in TLE at age 70 and 0.4 years in HLE and 1.3 years in TLE at age 80. If a woman had low education, obesity, and more than 2 comorbidities in addition to diabetes, these reductions increased to 3.0 years in TLE and 7.9 years in HLE at age 70 and 1.5 years in TLE and 3.8 years in HLE at age 80. CONCLUSIONS: Diabetes substantially reduced older women's quantity and quality of life, with further reductions for those with lower education, obesity, and comorbidities. These findings underscore the importance of optimally managing diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight and delaying the onset of comorbidities, to promote healthy aging for older women with diabetes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wubishet BL, Byles JE, Harris ML, Jagger C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences

Year: 2021

Volume: 76

Issue: 5

Pages: 914-921

Online publication date: 11/06/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (electronic): 1552-4523

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glaa172

PubMed id: 32652027


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