Comorbidity Is Main Cause of Disability in Diabetes

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In diabetes, comorbidities are primarily responsible for disability.
In diabetes, comorbidities are primarily responsible for disability.

(HealthDay News) — Among individuals with diabetes, the increased risk for work disability is mainly due to comorbid mental, musculoskeletal and circulatory disorders, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Marianna Virtanen, PhD, from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, and colleagues examined trends of diagnosis-specific work disability after newly diagnosed diabetes among a population aged 25 to 59 years in Sweden in 2006 (14,098 individuals) compared with a random population sample (39,056 individuals). 

Data were obtained from the National Social Insurance Agency to assess physician-certified sickness absence and disability pension days from 2007 to 2010.

Mental and musculoskeletal disorders were the most common causes of work disability, and diabetes was a rare cause for disability, the researchers found. 

For people with vs. those without diabetes, most of the excess work disability was due to mental disorders (mean difference adjusted for confounding factors, 18.8 to 19.8 compensated days/year), musculoskeletal diseases (12.1 to 12.8 days/year), circulatory diseases (5.9 to 6.5 days/year), diseases of the nervous system (1.8 to 2.0 days/year) and injuries (1.0 to 1.2 days/year). 

Over 4 years, the disparity in mental disorders first widened and then narrowed, while the difference in other major diagnostic categories was stable.

"For the management of diabetes and the prevention of work disability among people with diabetes, it is highly important to monitor comorbid conditions and pay attention to the most vulnerable socioeconomic groups," the researchers wrote.


  1. Vertanen M et al. Diabetes Care. 2015;doi:10.2337/dc15-0247.
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