Most diabetes care guidelines are based on research with middle-aged patients and focus on blood pressure, cholesterol, and glycemic control. However, the care and treatment of older adults with diabetes is more complex.
These individuals are at increased risk for geriatric syndromes, such as depression and falls, as well as hypoglycemia resulting from drugs they are taking.
A new study reveals geriatric syndromes and hypoglycemia are associated with lower health-related quality of life (HRQL) as much as diabetes complications.
No association was found between significantly lower mental HRQL and having a geriatric syndrome or diabetes complication in general. However, some conditions, such as depression and being underweight, resulted in lower mental HRQL.
Amputation, CHF, falls, chronic pain, heart attack, depression, underweight, and hypoglycemia were more strongly associated with lower HRQL than diabetes-related factors, such as duration of diabetes and insulin use.
For details, see Laiteerapong, N. et al. (2011). Correlates of quality of life in older adults with diabetes: The diabetes & aging study. Diabetes Care, 34(8), 1749-1753.