Steady Employment Means Staying Healthy When It Comes To Diabetics
August 30, 2012

Steady Employment Means Staying Healthy When It Comes To Diabetics

Connie K. Ho for — Your Universe Online

The recession can be tough — weak housing market, higher prices for goods, lack of jobs. Researchers found that this period can be especially tough for those who are both unemployed and diabetic. They found that, for diabetics, having a steady job is beneficial for individual health.

To begin, researchers from the University of Michigan (UM) discovered that working-age people who have diabetes can be impacted by their job status. Those who are unemployed tend to not keep to a consistent use of their oral anti-diabetic medication as compared to individuals who are employed. As well, working-age people with diabetes have a greater chance of being unemployed as compared to people who do not have diabetes. The scientists also found that there was no clear, cause-and-effect relationship between continual use of medication and insurance.

"Improved use of medications is more than just a facet of having medical insurance. It is linked to bigger issues such as being employed, periods of joblessness or a personal financial strain," explained lead research Rajesh Balkrishnan, a scientist at the UM College of Pharmacy and School of Public Health, in a prepared statement.

In the project, a total of 2,256 individuals participated in the two-year study period. 34 percent identified themselves as jobless during the first interview, and 29 percent considered themselves jobless after all five interview rounds. Causes for joblessness include inability to work as a result of disability or illness (20 percent) and waiting for the start of a new job (73 percent). Furthermore, other factors that relate to lack of medication for diabetes include stress associated with unemployment, lack of access to health care, and lack of financial resources.

In regards to the subject demographic, the scientists studied diabetes because they believe that it is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases of working-age adults in the U.S. Furthermore, diabetes is the seventh-most cause of death and the eighth-leading costly disease for treatment. In 2007, all health care costs related to diabetes was an approximately $174 billion.

The investigators believe that policy changes could possible assist working-age individuals with diabetes. They propose that increased access to health resource as well as managing resource allocation could result in a healthier, active lifestyle for employees. The study was recently published in the online version of the journal Health Outcomes Research in Medicine.

"Workforce participation for adults with diabetes and other chronic conditions command the attention of public policymakers, particularly when prioritizing resource allocation," noted Balkrishan in the statement. "As a starting position, health care providers and systems need standard processes to identify individuals facing financial pressure and their vulnerability to lower medication adherence."

According to the World Health Organization, 364 million people around the world suffer from diabetes. The organization predicts that deaths related to diabetes will double between 2005 and 2030.

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle choices included maintaining a healthy diet, participating in regular physical activity, keeping a normal body weight, as well as avoiding tobacco. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn´t produce enough insulin, a hormone that manages blood sugar, or when the body can´t function with the insulin produced.