Differences between Self-Reported Diabetes and Clinical Test Results: The Usefulness of Bio-markers in Research in Developing Countries

Gilbert Brenes, University of Wisconsin at Madison and Central American Center for Population

Degenerative diseases are the main causes of morbidity and mortality not only in industrialized countries, but also in some developing countries. Unlike infectious diseases, degenerative diseases have longer durations between onset and diagnosis. This means that a certain proportion of sick people do not know what their actual health status is. The collection of biomarkers in population research that also gathers self-reported information allows studying these discrepancies. CRELES, a new survey focused on the Costa Rican elderly, is one of these cases. Using a multinomial regression, I find that the number of symptoms and living in rural areas differentiates those who know about their disease from those who do not. Additionally, socio-economic status, place of residence, gender, and early childhood conditions predict diabetes status, regardless of whether the subject knows or does not know about it. Results are useful for improving screening policies and primary health care services.

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Presented in Session 106: Using Biomarkers to Validate Alternative Measures of Health in Developing Countries