Social disparities in diabetes care: a general population study in Denmark

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Objective: We investigated the association between socioeconomic factors and the attainment of treatment goals and pharmacotherapy in patients with type 2 diabetes in Denmark.

Design: A cross-sectional population study.

Setting: The municipality of Naestved, Denmark.

Subjects: We studied 907 patients with type 2 diabetes identified from a random sample of 21,205 Danish citizens.

Main outcome measures: The proportion of patients who were not achieving goals for diabetes care based on their HbA1c, LDL-cholesterol, blood pressure, and lifestyle, and the proportion of patients who were treated with antihypertensive and cholesterol- and glucose-lowering medication.

Methods: We investigated the association of the socioeconomic factors such as age, gender, education, occupation, income, and civil status and attainment of treatment goals and pharmacotherapy in logistic regression analyses. We investigated effect modification of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.

Results: Middle age (40–65 years), low education level (i.e. basic schooling), and low household income (i.e. less than 21,400 € per year) were associated with nonattainment of goals for diabetes care. The association of socioeconomic factors with attainment of individual treatment goals varied. Patients with low socioeconomic status were more often obese, physically inactive, smoking, and had elevated blood pressure. Socioeconomic factors were not associated with treatment goals for hyperglycemia. Socioeconomic factors were inconsistently associated with pharmacotherapy. There was no difference in contacts to general practitioners according to SES.

Conclusions: In a country with free access to health care, the socioeconomic factors such as middle age, low education, and low income were associated with nonattainment of goals for diabetes care.

KEY POINTS
Middle age, low education, and low income were associated with nonattainment of goals for diabetes care, especially for lifestyle goals.

Patients with low socioeconomic status were more often obese, physically inactive, smoking, and had elevated blood pressure.

Association of socioeconomic factors with pharmacotherapy was inconsistent.
Original languageDanish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care
Volume35
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)54–63
Number of pages10
ISSN0281-3432
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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