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Gerontology. 2005 Sep-Oct;51(5):334-9.

Functional disability related to diabetes mellitus in older Hong Kong Chinese adults.

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  • 1Sau Po Centre on Ageing, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China.



To investigate the associations between diabetes and disability in three domains and to determine whether the associations are mediated by diabetes-related complications.


A random representative sample of 2,003 non-institutionalized older Hong Kong Chinese was interviewed. The diabetic status was measured by the self-reported method. Disability was assessed by standardized questionnaire on basic activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental ADLs, and mobility.


12.3% of our participants reported having diabetes. Older adults with diabetes are more likely to report difficulty in 12 of 15 ADLs than older adults without diabetes. Older adults with diabetes are about twice as likely to report disability in higher functioning tasks only, as well as mobility and higher functioning tasks, and 3.5 times as likely to report disability in self-care tasks with or without any other mobility or higher functioning tasks than those without diabetes, after adjusting for age, gender, marital status and education. Adjustment for diabetic-related medical conditions, the first two associations attenuated slightly, but remained significant, whereas the last one became insignificant. The last results were different from what has been found in previous studies.


Diabetes is strongly related to a wide range of disabilities in older Hong Kong adults and the underlying mechanisms might be different for different categories of disability.

Copyright 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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