A new study entitled “A descriptive study of health status and health-related quality of life in selected outpatients with type 2 diabetes, pathological body mass index and cardiovascular risk in Spain” describes behavioral and environmental factors that impact health status and health-related quality of life (HRqol) in obese-diabetic patients. The study was published in the journal Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome.
Diabetes is a disease characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood and is caused either by a failure of the body’s capacity to produce insulin or by failing to respond properly to insulin production. An increased risk factor often associated with the development of diabetes is obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 78.1 million Americans are obese, with 90% of those at risk of developing diabetes, mainly type 2. Thus, the occurrence of obesity with diabetes is an established combination leading to diminished health conditions and health-related quality of life (HRqol). This index is increasingly used in clinical practices because it adds substantial information to understanding how diseases impact patients’ welfare. Thus, assessing diabetes-obese patients’ factors that impact both health status and HRqol allows for the identification of critical lifestyle and environmental factors to avoid disease complications.
Here, the authors analyzed a group of obese Spanish patients (determined by a pathological body mass index, BMI) with type 2 diabetes and increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and measured both their health status and HRqol index. Additionally, they determined how their behavioral, biological and social lifestyle impacted both outcomes.
They analyzed 38 patients attending the Endocrinology and Nutrition department at the Hospital Royo Villanova, in Zaragoza, Spain. Patients enrolled in the study were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and had a BMI of 25 or more.
The researchers found that while women exhibited a higher degree of obesity, the HRqol of patients with type 2 diabetes, high BMI and cardiovascular risk are significantly worsened, independently of gender and age, when compared to the general population. When the authors compared their results with the results of a preceding study who also focused on Spanish diabetic patients, they found the HRqol levels of their patients were better; however, the levels for the sub scales related to feelings, daily activities and most importantly with pain were significantly worse than the previous diabetic study — specifically, the authors found an increase in moderate pain, with 40.5% of their patients reporting it against 21.4% in the previous study. Additionally, the authors identified BMI and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c, a standard hemoglobin measure to determine average plasma glucose concentration over prolonged periods of time) as clinical predictors of HRqol. Notably, they found that the BMI and HbA1c levels influenced patients’ daily activities and feelings subscale.
Although the researchers recognize limitations to their study, they note that their results reinforce the notion that programs that help patients manage their diet, physical activity, blood sugar and pain will result in improved health parameters and HRqol levels.