Blog Post | November 2020

Income Related to Worse Outcomes in People with Type 2 Diabetes

Data from dQ&A shows the correlation between income and health outcomes among people with Type 2 diabetes. Respondents in the lower-income bracket are more likely to be treated for certain diabetes complications and depression compared to individuals in middle and high-income brackets.

For the purposes of this study, lower-income is defined as an annual household income under $50,000, middle-income is $50,000-$100,000, and high-income is over $100,000. This survey was conducted between June 8 and June 15, 2020, and had a sample size of 2,333 adults with Type 2 diabetes.

In the dQ&A community, Type 2 adults over 50 with a household income of less than $50,000 tend to have worse health outcomes compared to those with an income of $50,000-$100,000 or over $100,000. Nearly a fifth of adults with Type 2 in the lower-income range are being treated for nerve damage (19%), compared to just over a tenth of Type 2 adults in the middle-income bracket (13%) and high-income bracket (11%). Adults with T2 in the lower-income range are also significantly more likely than those in the middle-income range to be receiving treatment for kidney problems (12% and 8% respectively), but there were no significant differences with the high-income bracket (9%).

Mental health is also a major issue among Type 2 respondents in the dQ&A panel. Over 3 in 10 Type 2 respondents ages 26-49, and 2 in 10 adults over 50, are being treated for depression. In the general U.S. population, the prevalence of a major depressive episode is 7.7% for adults ages 26-49, and 4.7% for adults over 50. Unfortunately, depression among people with Type 2 diabetes is further exacerbated by lower income.  Among Type 2 respondents ages 26-49 with a household income of $50,000 or less, nearly half are being treated for depression (45%), compared to 27% of Type 2 adults in the middle-income range and 8% of those with a household income over $100,000. Among Type 2 adults over 50, 27% of those in the lower- income bracket are being treated for depression, compared to 16% of those in the middle-income range, and 17% of those in the high-income bracket.

Health equity is a significant issue in the United States, and many people cannot afford the care and interventions needed to address health concerns. While people with diabetes are at a greater risk for kidney problems and nerve damage, these issues can be prevented through effective diabetes treatment and management. However, many patients struggle to afford the therapies and technology needed to manage diabetes, which not only increases their risk for long-term complications, but can also contribute to worsening symptoms of depression. The need for increased access to healthcare is even more critical now, as COVID-19 poses an added risk to the physical and mental health of people with diabetes.

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About dQ&A – The Diabetes Research Company
dQ&A is a social enterprise that’s committed to making life better for people with diabetes. We harness patient voices to help develop better tools and policies for people with diabetes and improve health outcomes. For over ten years, we have been tracking the experiences and opinions of people with diabetes in the United States, Canada and Europe. We are trusted by patients because of our independence and commitment to them. Our team has decades of experience in quantitative and qualitative research and a deep knowledge of diabetes. Many of our own lives have been touched by diabetes, so we have a personal stake in our work. To learn more and to see research highlights, you can follow us on LinkedIn (dQ&A – The Diabetes Research Company), Facebook (@dQandA) and Twitter (@dQAresearch).