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Differential mortality and the excess burden of end-stage renal disease among First Nations people with diabetes mellitus: a competing-risks analysis

Ying Jiang MSc, Nathaniel Osgood PhD, Hyun-Ja Lim PhD, Mary Rose Stang PhD, Roland Dyck MD

Abstract

Background: Diabetes-related end-stage renal disease disproportionately affects indigenous peoples. We explored the role of differential mortality in this disparity.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we examined the competing risks of endstage renal disease and death without endstage renal disease among Saskatchewan adults with diabetes mellitus, both First Nations and non–First Nations, from 1980 to 2005. Using administrative databases of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, we developed Fine and Gray subdistribution hazards models and cumulative incidence functions.

Results: Of the 90 429 incident cases of diabetes, 8254 (8.9%) occurred among First Nations adults and 82 175 (90.9%) among non–First Nations adults. Mean age at the time that diabetes was diagnosed was 47.2 and 61.6 years, respectively (p < 0.001). After adjustment for sex and age at the time of diabetes diagnosis, the risk of end-stage renal disease was 2.66 times higher for First Nations than non–First Nations adults (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.24–3.16). Multivariable analysis with adjustment for sex showed a higher risk of death among First Nations adults, which declined with increasing age at the time of diabetes diagnosis. Cumulative incidence function curves stratified by age at the time of diabetes diagnosis showed greatest risk for end-stage renal disease among those with onset of diabetes at younger ages and greatest risk of death among those with onset of diabetes at older ages.

Interpretation: Because they are typically younger when diabetes is diagnosed, First Nations adults with this condition are more likely than their non–First Nations counterparts to survive long enough for end-stage renal disease to develop. Differential mortality contributes substantially to ethnicity-based disparities in diabetes-related end-stage renal disease and possibly to chronic diabetes complications. Understanding the mechanisms underlying these disparities is vital in developing more effective prevention and management initiatives.

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