Associations of Age at Diagnosis and Duration of Diabetes With Morbidity and Mortality Among Older Adults.

TitleAssociations of Age at Diagnosis and Duration of Diabetes With Morbidity and Mortality Among Older Adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsCigolle, CT, Blaum, CS, Lyu, C, Ha, J, Kabeto, M, Zhong, J
JournalJAMA Network Open
ISSN Number2574-3805
KeywordsDiabetes, Diagnosis, Mortality

Importance: Older adults vary widely in age at diagnosis and duration of type 2 diabetes, but treatment often ignores this heterogeneity.

Objectives: To investigate the associations of diabetes vs no diabetes, age at diagnosis, and diabetes duration with negative health outcomes in people 50 years and older.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study included participants in the 1995 through 2018 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a population-based, biennial longitudinal health interview survey of older adults in the US. The study sample included adults 50 years or older (n = 36 060) without diabetes at entry. Data were analyzed from June 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022.

Exposures: The presence of diabetes, specifically the age at diabetes diagnosis, was the main exposure of the study. Age at diagnosis was defined as the age when the respondent first reported diabetes. Adults who developed diabetes were classified into 3 age-at-diagnosis groups: 50 to 59 years, 60 to 69 years, and 70 years and older.

Main Outcomes and Measures: For each diabetes age-at-diagnosis group, a propensity score-matched control group of respondents who never developed diabetes was constructed. The association of diabetes with the incidence of key outcomes-including heart disease, stroke, disability, cognitive impairment, and all-cause mortality-was estimated and the association of diabetes vs no diabetes among the age-at-diagnosis case and matched control groups was compared.

Results: A total of 7739 HRS respondents developed diabetes and were included in the analysis (4267 women [55.1%]; mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 67.4 [9.9] years). The age-at-diagnosis groups included 1866 respondents at 50 to 59 years, 2834 at 60 to 69 years, and 3039 at 70 years or older; 28 321 HRS respondents never developed diabetes. Age at diagnosis of 50 to 59 years was significantly associated with incident heart disease (hazard ratio [HR], 1.66 [95% CI, 1.40-1.96]), stroke (HR, 1.64 [95% CI, 1.30-2.07]), disability (HR, 2.08 [95% CI, 1.59-2.72]), cognitive impairment (HR, 1.30 [95% CI, 1.05-1.61]), and mortality (HR, 1.49 [95% CI, 1.29-1.71]) compared with matched controls, even when accounting for diabetes duration. These associations significantly decreased with advancing age at diagnosis. Respondents with diabetes diagnosed at 70 years or older only showed a significant association with the outcome of elevated mortality (HR, 1.08 [95% CI, 1.01-1.17]).

Conclusions and Relevance: The findings of this cohort study suggest that age at diabetes diagnosis was differentially associated with outcomes and that younger age groups were at elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, disability, cognitive impairment, and all-cause mortality. These findings reinforce the clinical heterogeneity of diabetes and highlight the importance of improving diabetes management in adults with earlier diagnosis.

Citation Key12715
PubMed ID36178688