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Am J Med Sci. 2007 Jan;333(1):35-47.

Management of diabetes in older adults.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, South Carolina, USA.


Enhanced life expectancy and the aging of society have conspired with rising rates of obesity and physical inactivity to cause an unprecedented increase in diabetes prevalence worldwide. The disease and its chronic complications have unique presentations and challenges in the elderly. Postprandial hyperglycemia may be the predominant manifestation, comorbid health conditions are often present, and the risk of cardiovascular disease is vastly increased. Periodic screening is essential for early diagnosis and proper treatment. The principles of multidisciplinary management emphasizing nutrition, exercise, education, psychosocial care, attention to concomitant metabolic risk factors, and prudent use of pharmacologic agents are the mainstay of therapy for older adults. Treatment should be tailored to the individual patient, and the assistance of family and caregivers should be combined with rational utilization of community resources. An evidence-based, comprehensive, and proactive approach is needed to reduce the burden of morbidity and mortality from diabetes in the elderly.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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