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Epidemiology of diabetes in SCI&D

LaVela SL, Weaver FM, Chen K. Epidemiology of diabetes in SCI&D. Paper presented at: VA Hines VAMC Locally Initiated Projects Conference; 2004 Oct 1; Hines, IL.


Background/Objective: To examine diabetes prevalence, care, complications, and characteristics of veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCIandD).Methods: A national survey of veterans with SCIandD was conducted using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey questions. Data were compared to national CDC BRFSS data for veteran and non-veteran general populations. Results: Overall prevalence of diabetes in individuals with SCIandD was 20% (3x higher than the general population). Veterans with SCIandD and veterans, in general, had higher prevalence of diabetes across all age groups, beyond 35 years of age. One fourth of persons with SCIandD and diabetes reported that diabetes affected their eyes or that they had retinopathy (25%) and 41% had foot sores that took more than 4 weeks to heal. More veterans, both with (63%) and without SCIandD (60%) than the general population (50%) took a class on how to manage their diabetes. Veterans with SCIandD and diabetes were more likely to have other chronic conditions and poorer quality of life than those without diabetes. Conclusion(s): Diabetes prevalence is greater among veterans with SCIandD compared with the civilian population, but is similar to that of other veterans, although it may occur at a younger age in SCIandD. Veterans with SCIandD and diabetes have more comorbidities and have more slow-healing foot sores and report poorer quality of life than those without diabetes. Efforts to prevent diabetes and to provide early intervention in persons with SCIandD are needed.

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