Factors associated with seven-year incidence of diabetes complications among older Mexican Americans

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Background: Diabetes is common in elderly persons and is highly prevalent in Mexican Americans. Little is known about factors associated with the incidence of diabetes complications. Objective: To examine the social, demographic and health factors associated with a 7-year incidence of diabetes complications among older Mexican Americans with diabetes. Methods: A 7-year prospective cohort of 536 non-institutionalized Mexican Americans aged ≥65 years with diabetes residing in the Southwest of USA. Measures included socio-demographic factors, duration of diabetes, diabetes treatment, medical conditions and body mass index. Diabetes complications were assessed by self-reports of any kidney, eye and circulation problems or amputation due to diabetes over a 7-year period. Results: Subjects with disease duration of ≥10 years were found to have an increased incidence of kidney, eye and circulation problems or amputation over a 7-year period. Hazard ratio (HR) for circulation problems was significantly higher in foreign-born subjects with >15 years in the USA. Foreign-born subjects with <15 years in the USA and those with a frequent number of physician visits were at increased risk of kidney complications. Subjects with baseline eye complications had a higher HR for incidence of amputations in the next 7 years. Subjects with baseline circulation complications had a higher incidence of amputations, eye and kidney complications in the next 7 years. Conclusions: Our data suggest that risks of diabetes complications are influenced by different factors. Prolonged diabetes duration, being foreign-born, living in the USA for a longer period, and frequent physician visits were factors associated with diabetes complications. Designing intervention strategies to reduce diabetes complication risks requires an understanding of the differences in demographic and health predictors of such risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-199
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2007



  • Diabetes complications, incidence
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Mexican Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging

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