If You Have Type 2 Diabetes, Chances Are That's Not All

The study highlights the complexity of prescribing medication for those with type 2 diabetes.

Almost everyone with type 2 diabetes (T2D) has at least 1 other comorbid condition, and 9 out of 10 people with the disease have 2 conditions, according to a new study.

The trend is especially true with men and gets worse with age, based on an analysis of health records published in Current Medical Research and Opinion. The study, which was funded by Merck, highlights how complicated it can be to prescribe medication for those with T2D, a task increasingly left to primary care physicians.

Researchers looked at records from 1,389,016 patients with T2D, of whom 53% were women and the median age was 65 years. Of the group 97.5% had at least 1 comorbid condition besides T2D, and 88.5% had at least 2.

The team divided the patient data into groups based on age: those younger than age 65, those age 65-74, and those age 75 or older. Comorbidity burden increased in older age groups and was higher in men than in women.

The most common comorbidity was hypertension (82.1%), being overweight or obese (78.2%), hyperlipidemia (77.2%), chronic kidney disease (24.1%), and cardiovascular disease (21.6%).

The highest combination of comorbidities was hypertension and hyperlipidemia (67.5%), following by being overweight or obese and having hypertension (66%), and being overweight/obese and having hyperlipidemia (62.5%).

“From a physician perspective, the presence of multiple comorbidities poses challenges in terms of overall diabetes management, including selection of the appropriate diabetes treatment plan,” the researchers wrote. “The profiles of available pharmacologic options for T2D are varied and not all agents may always be appropriate for a given patient, depending on their clinical profile and existing comorbidities.”


Iglay K, Hannachi H, Howie PJ, et al. Prevalence and co-prevalence of comorbidities among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus [published online April 4, 2016]. Curr Med Res Opin. 2016; DOI: 10.1185/03007995.2016.1168291