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Diabetes mellitus and hypertension have comparable adverse effects on health-related quality of life

Tamara Poljičanin1*, Dea Ajduković1, Mario Šekerija1, Mirjana Pibernik-Okanović1, Željko Metelko1 and Gorka Vuletić Mavrinac2

Author Affiliations

1 Vuk Vrhovac University Clinic, Zagreb, Croatia

2 Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, Medical School, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-12

Published: 13 January 2010



We aimed to assess health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among people with diabetes or hypertension, estimate the effect of cardiovascular comorbidities on HRQoL as well as compare HRQoL in these groups with that of healthy individuals.


A total of 9,070 respondents aged 18 years and over were assessed for HRQoL. Data were obtained from the Croatian Adult Health Survey. Respondents were divided into five groups according to their medical history: participants with hypertension (RR), hypertension and cardiovascular comorbidities (RR+), diabetes mellitus (DM), diabetes and cardiovascular comorbidities (DM+) and participants free of these conditions (healthy individuals, HI). HRQoL was assessed on 8 dimensions of the SF-36 questionnaire.


Participants with diabetes and those with hypertension reported comparably limited (p > 0.05) HRQoL in all dimensions of SF-36, compared with healthy individuals (p < 0.05). If cardiovascular comorbidities were present, both participants with diabetes and participants with hypertension had lower results on all SF-36 scales (p > 0.05) than participants without such comorbidities (p < 0.05). The results remained after adjustment for sociodemographic variables (age, sex, employment, financial status and education).


Diabetes and hypertension seem to comparably impair HRQoL. Cardiovascular comorbidities further reduce HRQoL in participants with both chronic conditions. Future research of interventions aimed at improving these participants' HRQoL is needed.