Diabetes and Physical Limitations

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People with diabetes have a higher prevalence of risk factors, such as obesity and sedentary behavior, and higher prevalence of health conditions, such as vision loss, depression, and cardiovascular disease, that are associated with physical limitations (54). In a nationwide, cross-sectional analysis, people with diabetes had a higher proportion of physical limitation than people without diabetes overall (66 percent versus 29 percent, p < 0.001), for men (59 percent versus 24 percent, p < 0.001), and women (72 percent versus 34 percent, p < 0.001) (54). The difference declined with increasing age: 18-44 years (46 percent versus 18 percent), 45-64 years (63 percent versus 35 percent), 65-74 years (74 percent versus 53 percent), and > 75 years (85 versus 70 percent) (54). The OR for physical limitation among adults with diabetes versus adults without diabetes was 1.9 (95 percent CI, 1.8-2.1) (54). Although this association is not clearly defined, women seem to have a greater prevalence of physical limitations than men (54). In a national survey, 32 percent of women and 15 percent of men with diabetes versus 14 percent of women and 8 percent of men without diabetes reported inability to walk one-fourth of a mile, climb stairs, or do housework (55). There were two to three increased odds of not being able to do each task and up to 3.6-fold increased risk of not being able to do all three tasks associated with diabetes (55). Women with diabetes tend to have slower walking speed, inferior lower-extremity function, decreased balance, and increased risk of falling (55).

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