(HealthDay News) – Socioeconomic status, as measured by education and financial wealth, is a strong independent predictor of mortality risk among adult diabetes patients, according to a study published in the January issue of Diabetes Care.

Sharon H. Saydah, PhD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 6,177 adults with diabetes aged ≥25 years participating in the National Health Interview Surveys (1997–2003), which were linked to mortality data (follow-up through 2006). Education attained, financial wealth (either stocks/dividends or home ownership), and income-to-poverty ratio were used to measure socioeconomic status.

The researchers found that risk of death was significantly greater for people with lower levels of education and income-to-poverty ratio compared with those at the highest levels. The association with greater risk of death remained significant only for people with the lowest level of education (relative hazard, 1.52; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04–2.23), after adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, diabetes treatment and duration, health care access, and psychological distress variables. The risk of death was also significantly greater for people without certain types of financial wealth (relative hazard, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.07–2.27) compared to those with them.

“The findings suggest that, after adjustments for demographics, health care access, and psychological distress, the level of education attained and financial wealth remain strong predictors of mortality risk among adults with diabetes,” the authors write.

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