Diabetes Treatment Targets Not Met by Most Senior Patients

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Only 1 in 3 older adults have their diabetes controlled as defined by ADA guidelines.
Only 1 in 3 older adults have their diabetes controlled as defined by ADA guidelines.

(HealthDay News) -- Only one-third of American seniors with diabetes have their disease under control as defined by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines, according to research published in Diabetes Care.

The study included 1,574 patients with diabetes, aged 65 and older, in Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, and North Carolina. The researchers looked at whether the participants met ADA guidelines for 3 key measures of good diabetes control: blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

The researchers found that only 1 in 3 of the patients had diabetes controlled as defined by the ADA guidelines. Some experts consider the ADA guidelines too demanding for seniors. But even using less stringent measures, the researchers found that many of the patients did not have their diabetes under control. The study also found significant racial disparities, particularly in women, in how well diabetes is managed. Black women were much less likely than white women to have control of blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

"This research gives us a good picture of diabetes control in older adults and gets us thinking about what it means that older Americans are not meeting clinical targets and how we should address this from a public health perspective," study leader Elizabeth Selvin, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said in a school news release. "There is tremendous debate about appropriate clinical targets for diabetes in older adults, particularly for glucose control. Are some older adults being over-treated? Are some being undertreated? These are questions for which we don't have answers."


  1. Parrinello, CM; Rastegar, I; Godino, JG; Miedema, MD; Matsushita, K; and Selvin, E. Diabetes Care, July 2015 vol. 38 no. 7 1290-1298; doi: 10.2337/dc15-0016.
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