Purpose: To understand the effect of socioeconomic status (SES) on the risk of complications in type 1 diabetes (T1D), we explored the relationship between SES and major diabetes complications in a prospective, observational T1D cohort study.
Methods: Complete data were available for 317 T1D persons within 4 years of age 28 (ages 24-32) in the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications Study. Age 28 was selected to maximize income, education, and occupation potential and to minimize the effect of advanced diabetes complications on SES.
Results: The incidences over 1 to 20 years' follow-up of end-stage renal disease and coronary artery disease were two to three times greater for T1D individuals without, compared with those with a college degree (p < .05 for both), whereas the incidence of autonomic neuropathy was significantly greater for low-income and/or nonprofessional participants (p < .05 for both). HbA(1c) was inversely associated only with income level. In sex- and diabetes duration-adjusted Cox models, lower education predicted end-stage renal disease (hazard ratio [HR], 2.9; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.1-7.7) and coronary artery disease (HR, 2.5, 95% CI, 1.3-4.9), whereas lower income predicted autonomic neuropathy (HR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0-2.9) and lower-extremity arterial disease (HR, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.1-11.9).
Conclusions: These associations, partially mediated by clinical risk factors, suggest that lower SES T1D individuals may have poorer self-management and, thus, greater complications from diabetes.
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