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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2000 Mar;48(3):264-7.

Glycemic control of older adults with type 2 diabetes: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis, Methodist Healthcare, 38105, USA.



Although nearly half of all people who have diabetes are aged 65 or older, glycemic control of older adults with diabetes has not been well described.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of 1,482 participants with self-reported type 2 diabetes in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994 (NHANES III), a nationally representative sample of the US noninstitutionalized civilian population. Variables included in this analysis included age, sociodemographic factors, drug treatment, and level of glycemic control.


The mean % (+/-SE) HbA1c was 7.78 +/- 0.21, 7.64 +/- 0.18, 7.71 +/- 0.14, and 7.27 +/- 0.14 in persons aged 20 to 54, 55 to 64, 65 to 74 and > or = 75 years, respectively. The mean mg/dL (+/-SE) fasting plasma glucose (FPG) was 175.9 +/- 7.6, 164.5 +/- 6.1, 183.3 +/- 5.3, and 158.5 +/- 5.5 in the four age groups and older, respectively. When controlling for race, gender, education, and duration of diabetes, age was not significantly associated with levels of HbA1c [P (trend) =0.17] or FPG [P (trend) =0.19]. Among NHANES III participants aged 65 or older, ADA guidelines for glycemic control (HbA1c < 7%) were achieved by 71%, 44%, and 27% of persons using no drug therapy, oral hypoglycemic agents, and insulin, respectively.


Although many older adults with type 2 diabetes do not achieve targets for glucose control, there is no evidence to suggest that community-dwelling older adults with diabetes are treated less vigorously than younger persons with diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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