Objectives: The prevalence and health burden of self-reported adult-onset diabetes mellitus were examined in older Mexican Americans.
Methods: Data from the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly were used to assess the prevalence of self-reported diabetes and its association with other chronic conditions, disability, sensory impairments, health behaviors, and health service use in 3050 community-dwelling Mexican Americans 65 years and older.
Results: The prevalence of self-reported diabetes in this sample was 22%, and there were high rates of obesity, diabetes-related complications, and diabetic medication use. Myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, angina, and cancer were significantly more common in diabetics than in nondiabetics, as were high levels of depressive symptoms, low perceived health status, disability, incontinence, vision impairment, and health service use. Many of the rate differences found in this sample of older Mexican Americans were higher than those reported among other groups of older adults.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the prevalence and health burden of diabetes are greater in older Mexican Americans than in older non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans, particularly among elderly men.