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Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Nov;85(2):154-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.10.030. Epub 2010 Nov 26.

Patient age: a neglected factor when considering disease management in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Author information

1
Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 94143, USA. hesslerd@fcm.ucsf.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The average age at diagnosis for type 2 diabetes is decreasing. However, because age is most often controlled for in clinical research, little is known regarding how adult age is associated with diabetes disease-related variables.

METHODS:

In a community based study with type 2 diabetes patients (N=506), after adjusting for potentially confounding variables, we examined associations between patients' age and: stress, depression, diabetes-related distress, self-efficacy, diet, exercise, and glycemic control. We then explored to what extent age interacts with these variables in their association with glycemic control.

RESULTS:

Younger age was independently associated with: greater chronic stress and negative life events, higher levels of diabetes-related distress, higher depressed affect, eating healthier foods and exercising less frequently, lower diabetes self-efficacy, and higher HbA1c. Interactions showed that younger patients with high stress and/or low self-efficacy were more likely to have higher HbA1c levels than older patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results suggest younger adult patients with type 2 diabetes represent a unique patient subgroup with specific needs and health risks based on their developmental stage and life context.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Treatment programs need to target younger adult patients and may need to utilize different media or modalities (e.g., social media) to reach this group.

PMID:
21112720
PMCID:
PMC3196056
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2010.10.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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