News Release
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   August 28, 2001

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan
Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160


Diabetes Associated With Longer Hospital Stays
According to DHSS Report on Hospitalization in New Jersey

TRENTON -- New Jersey residents who are hospitalized for any reason have a longer average length of stay if they have diabetes, especially some minority populations, according to a report released today on diabetes-related hospitalizations by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

"This report serves as an important step in on-going efforts statewide to define the burden of diabetes and also to help increase the awareness of diabetes and the necessity of prevention," said acting Health and Senior Services Commissioner George T. DiFerdinando Jr., MD.

The report, titled Diabetes-Related Inpatient Hospital Utilization in New Jersey, looks at hospitalizations for diabetes and its complications. It is a follow up to the Department's report The Burden of Diabetes in New Jersey: A Surveillance Report.

"We want these findings to serve as a wakeup call for residents with diabetes and healthcare providers alike," said Dr. DiFerdinando. "Early, accurate diagnosis and follow-up treatment of diabetes is key to preventing disability and improving the quality of life, since people with diabetes are at a higher risk for complications such as loss of vision, kidney function or a limb."

The report studied more than 1.4 million New Jersey hospital discharges that occurred in 1997. About 160,000 had diabetes listed among the discharged diagnoses and 16,000 had diabetes as the primary diagnosis.

According to the report, diabetes increased average hospital length-of-stay by three days. The largest number of discharges and the largest average length-of-stay were for people over the age of 65. This population group accounted for more than half of the number of hospital discharges.

Also, diabetes as the primary diagnosis ranked eighth in New Jersey among the diseases with the longest average length of hospital stay at eight days.

The report also found that African Americans had the highest rates of discharge with diabetes and their average hospital stay was 7.7 days, compared to 6.8 for whites. African Americans also had more than three times the rate of end stage renal disease compared to whites and twice the rate of vision disorders and amputations .

And the report showed the rate of diabetes and hypertensive heart disease was almost four times as high in African American females compared to white females.

"These findings show that New Jersey needs to continue to provide access to preventive and treatment programs such as vision and foot exams, influenza and pneumococcal immunizations, blood testing, and testing for cholesterol and other blood fats. We also need to continue education efforts about the importance of these preventive measures, especially in New Jersey's minority populations," said Dr. DiFerdinando.

Diabetes has been diagnosed in more than 300,000 New Jerseyans and it is estimated that more than 150,000 New Jersey adults also have diabetes but do not know it. While the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in New Jersey. High risk factors include obesity, inactivity, being a member of a racial and/or ethnic minority group, and a family history of diabetes.
Diabetes puts people at a greater risk of heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, nerve disease, amputations, influenza, and dental disease. However, many deaths and complications are preventable with proper early diagnosis and intervention.

For a copy of the report, please visit the Department's web site at

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