To evaluate the self-reported quality of life in individuals with diabetes of long duration.


An interview was administered 14 years after baseline to two cohorts of individuals with diabetes who have been followed in an epidemiological study periodically since 1980. Responses to the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 as related to complications of diabetes, age, glycosylated hemoglobin level, and other characteristics were assessed.


Physical function, physical role, general health scales, and a general question about health were related to diabetes characteristics in older- and younger-onset individuals. Symptoms of sensory neuropathy were associated with the four measures in both younger- (n = 645) and older-onset (n = 292) individuals. Other descriptive variables in the younger-onset group were the presence of nephropathy, cardiovascular disease, smoking, peak expiratory flow, physical activity, and glycosylated hemoglobin. Hypoglycemic reactions were of only borderline significance and that for only one scale (physical role). In older-onset individuals, cardiovascular disease, physical activity, and sex were descriptive of responses to the quality-of-life questions.


Factors related to diabetes contribute to self-assessed health. Some of these factors may be modifiable, which, if altered, may lead to improved quality of life.

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