INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Living in a deprived urban neighborhood puts diabetics at a significantly higher risk of losing mobility, a study of African-Americans with the disease found.
Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis said residing in a neighborhood with low air quality, loud traffic/industrial noise or poorly maintained streets and yards makes it more likely African-Americans with diabetes will develop problems walking.
While the researchers had expected these diabetic patients would be more prone to lower-body functional limitations, they say they were surprised to find a double jeopardy situation.
"Having diabetes is bad, living under adverse neighborhood conditions is bad, but people with diabetes who live in adverse neighborhood conditions quite remarkably were up to 80 times more likely to develop lower body functional limitations than those having the disease or living under these neighborhood conditions alone," Dr. Douglas Miller, the study's senior author, said in a statement.
"In fact, in our study about 8 out of 10 people who developed lower body functional limitations were diabetics who lived in adverse neighborhood conditions."
The study, published online in BMC Public Health, had adjusted for exercise so Miller said lack of exercise was not a factor accounting for the diminished abilities. He suggested adverse living conditions may have caused higher oxidative stress, which exacerbated lower body function problems.