Background/Objective: To examine diabetes prevalence, care, complications, and characteristics of veterans with a spinal cord injury or disorder (SCI/D). Methods: A national survey of veterans with an SCI/D was conducted using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey questions. Data were compared with national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BRFSS data for veteran and nonveteran general populations. Results: Overall prevalence of diabetes in individuals with an SCI/D was 20% (3 times higher than in the general population). Veterans with an SCI/D and veterans, in general, had a higher prevalence of diabetes across all age groups; however, those with an SCI/D who were 45 to 59 years of age had a higher prevalence than other veterans. One fourth of the persons with an SCI/D and diabetes reported that diabetes affected their eyes or that they had retinopathy (25%), and 41% had foot sores that took more than 4 weeks to heal. More veterans, both with (63%) and without an SCI/D (60%), took a class on how to manage their diabetes than the general population (50%). Veterans with an SCI/D and diabetes were more likely to report other chronic conditions and poorer quality of life than those without diabetes. Conclusions: Diabetes prevalence is greater among veterans with an SCI/D compared with the civilian population, but is similar to that of other veterans, although it may occur at a younger age in those with an SCI/D. Veterans with an SCI/D and diabetes reported more comorbidities, more slow-healing foot sores, and poorer quality of life than those without diabetes. Efforts to prevent diabetes and to provide early intervention in persons with SCI/D are needed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology