Aim: To determine risk factors monitored in primary care that were significantly associated with diabetes complications requiring hospitalization.
Methods: We examined clinical and demographic data for 1080 Type 1 and 11,283 Type 2 New Zealand diabetes patients attending a free primary care diabetes examination between 2000 and 2002. Hospital admissions data for the 2 years following the index examination were linked for each patient using a unique National Health Index code. Logistic regression was used to determine odds ratios for the likelihood of developing diabetic complications adjusted for each variable.
Results: In the Type 1 cohort, 222 patients (20.6%) were hospitalized for diabetes complications and 1948 patients (17.3%) in the Type 2 cohort. In both cohorts, patients admitted with diabetes complications had significantly higher mean glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) (p<0.001) and triglyceride levels (p<0.001), urine albumin:creatinine ratios (p<0.001) and duration of diabetes (p<0.01 Type 1: p<0.001 Type 2) than patients not admitted. In Type 2 patients, age, obesity, HbA1c, urine albumin:creatinine ratios, HDL levels and treatment with insulin or oral medication were all associated with increased odds of admission.
Conclusions: Although it is well known that HbA1c is a significant predictor of diabetes complications, this study shows that urine albumin:creatinine ratio, body mass index, triglycerides and high density lipoproteins are also independent predictors of hospitalization for diabetes complications. Attention to all these factors in the primary care setting is indicated if the burden of diabetes complications to hospital services is to be minimized.