Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have tried to figure out why patients with diabetes have higher rates of hospitalization and readmission than the rest of the population and what can be done to prevent it.
They examined data from more than 340,000 patients over a nearly six-year period. The authors found that patients with diabetes are initially admitted to the hospital for pretty much the same wide range of reasons that everyone else is, but after the initial condition had been stabilized, almost 11 percent of diabetes patients would be back in the hospital within 30 days. Of those, about 3 percent were being treated for high or low blood sugar – regardless of the initial condition.
Younger patients, ages 18-44, were twice as likely to be readmitted for severe high or low blood sugar than older patients. And readmission for severe high or low blood sugar was a strong indicator for another episode of readmission.
Almost 15 percent of West Virginia adults have diabetes.
Researchers think the best way to prevent readmission in these high-risk cases is to invest in good outpatient care, support and education.
The study was published this month in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.