Health Changes after Diabetes Diagnosed in Middle and Old Age: Physical, Mental and Cognitive Health Trajectories and Social Stratification

TitleHealth Changes after Diabetes Diagnosed in Middle and Old Age: Physical, Mental and Cognitive Health Trajectories and Social Stratification
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsNdao-Brumblay, SKhady
UniversityUniversity of Michigan
CityAnn Arbor
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Methodology
Abstract

The current study focuses exclusively on middle-aged and old-aged adults with incident diabetes, and describes the course of diabetes in late adulthood in terms of physical, mental, and cognitive health change. To do this, it utilizes time-varying diabetes duration as the measure of time to define health trajectories after diabetes diagnosis. The study consists of three empirical analyses of the Health and Retirement Study, an ongoing representative biennial panel survey of Americans age 50 and older. Each study covers a different domain of health, and together they provide a comprehensive and dynamic view of people's experiences with diabetes. Hierarchical linear models of health change with longer diabetes duration (used as the measure of time), reveals that the course of diabetes is characterized by a quadratic acceleration in physical disability and a linear decline in mental and cognitive health. People who are older at the time of diagnosis, younger cohorts, women (due to lower socioeconomic status), blacks and Hispanics (partly due to socioeconomic disadvantage and health disparities before diagnosis) are generally at increased risk of a poor course of diabetes, when compared to their counterparts. Cumulative or persistent socioeconomic disadvantages were found for all outcomes, with worse health trajectories among older adults whose socioeconomic status was lower, with the exception of those in the top two income quartiles, who experienced a faster decline in mental health despite better scores at diagnosis. The study results confirm that diabetes cannot be viewed as a time-constant individual characteristic. Rather, the clinical course of diabetes in terms of physical, mental, and cognitive health changes with longer diabetes duration. Social variations in these changes need to be better understood so that effective healthcare and policy interventions can be devised to ensure successful and equitable aging with late-onset diabetes.

Endnote Keywords

Sociocultural Factors

Short TitleHealth Changes after Diabetes Diagnosed in Middle and Old Age: Physical, Mental and Cognitive Health Trajectories and Social Stratification
Citation Key6025