Older adults with diabetes live long enough to benefit from interventions

May 2, 2012, University of Michigan Health System

Middle-aged and older adults with diabetes showed substantial survival rates in a new University of Michigan Health System study of retirees.

Survival rates were strong even for adults living in nursing homes or who have multiple health issues like dementia and disabilities that make self-managed care for diabetes difficult.

The findings were published in the and revealed even older adults may benefit from interventions that can prevent or delay the complications of diabetes, which include poor vision, nerve damage, heart disease and .

"We went into this thinking that people in the limited health group would have substantial mortality but with the exception of patients over age 76 with the poorest health status, all showed strong survival rates," says lead study author Christine T. Cigolle, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of family medicine and internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and research scientist at the VA.

There is no cure for diabetes, but those with can prevent complications through regimens that may involve multiple medications and changes in diet and physical activity.

Cigolle, who is also a research assistant professor at the U-M Institute of Gerontology, notes that the success of these interventions depends on the patient's ability to self-manage their diabetes and on surviving long enough to experience benefits of treatment.

The study found that while adults in the older age groups were more likely to have difficulty managing the disease and to have poor health status, middle-aged adults constituted the largest number of diabetes patients to have self-management difficulties.

Blindness, and having multiple diseases requiring multiple medications were among issues that complicated their ability to manage their diabetes.

The finding that medically complex patients survive to five years also supports inclusion of older patients in clinical trials to determine whether their outcomes replicate those of younger, healthier patients.

"A struggle in geriatrics has been what interventions are appropriate for older adults," says the study senior author Caroline S. Blaum, M.D., M.S., professor of internal medicine and geriatrics at the U-M Health System.

"The fact that this group is showing substantial survival means they may well be candidates for continued aggressive care."

Explore further: Depression increases risk of dementia in patients with Type 2 diabetes

More information: Journal of Gerontology, A Biol Sci Med Sci; 10.1093/Gerona/gls095

Related Stories

Depression increases risk of dementia in patients with Type 2 diabetes

December 5, 2011
Depression in patients with diabetes is associated with a substantively increased risk of development of dementia compared to those with diabetes alone, according to researchers from the University of Washington and Kaiser ...

For those with diabetes, controlling blood pressure is crucial, but not urgent

January 9, 2012
A new study suggests that middle-aged adults recently diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension have time to try to learn how to control their high blood pressure without medications, but not too much time.

Worse outcomes for older breast cancer patients with other health problems

June 30, 2011
Older breast cancer patients with certain other health problems have higher mortality rates than patients without these problems according to a study published online June 30 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. ...

Recommended for you

Yeast species used in food industry causes disease in humans

July 19, 2018
A major cause of drug-resistant clinical yeast infections is the same species previously regarded as non-pathogenic and commonly used in the biotechnology and food industries. The study, published on July 19th in the open-access ...

Deadly Rift Valley fever: New insight, and hope for the future

July 19, 2018
Health control measures alone could be ineffective in the long term fight against the deadly Rift Valley fever which affects both humans and animals, a new study in the journal PNAS reports.

New guidelines to diagnose, manage rare endocrine disorders

July 19, 2018
International guidelines have been published for the first time to help doctors around the globe diagnose and manage patients with a very rare set of endocrine diseases known as pseudohypoparathyroidism and its related disorders, ...

Overuse of antibiotics not what the doctor ordered

July 19, 2018
With increased use of antibiotics worldwide linked to growing antibiotic resistance, a world-first study co-authored by a QUT researcher has highlighted the growing impact of non-prescription supply of antibiotics in community ...

Alcohol-related cirrhosis deaths skyrocket in young adults

July 18, 2018
Deaths from cirrhosis rose in all but one state between 1999-2016, with increases seen most often among young adults, a new study shows.

Hidden blood in feces may signal deadly conditions

July 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Even if it's not visible to the naked eye, blood in the stool can be serious—a sign of a potentially fatal disease other than colon cancer, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.