ISSN 1470-3947 (print)
ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Searchable abstracts of presentations at key conferences in endocrinology

Published by BioScientifica
Endocrine Abstracts (2010) 22 P286 
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It's time to put the ‘age' and the ‘face' on HbA1c in elderly patients with diabetes mellitus

Gideon Mlawa1,3, James Alegbeleye1,3 & Raymond D’Esouza1,2

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Introduction: Older patients with diabetes mellitus often have concomitant comorbidities and physical disabilities which may lead to poor quality of life. The present diabetic guidelines available to clinicians in their practice suggest aggressive and meticulous diabetic control for target HbA1c (<7%). This is aimed at delaying or preventing complications. Such practice may predipose majority of older patients to experience recurrent hypoglycaemic epidodes and therefore compounding to their poor quality of life.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional survey of 46 diabetic patients aged between 65 and 90 years old who were seen in diabetic clinic. They were given questionnaire (SF36) to assess their quality of life (Mental and Physical component) in relation to blood glucose levels and other comorbidities.

Results: Older patients and especially those with other comorbidities such as chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive airways disease, cognitive impairement, rheumatoid arthritis and peripheral vascular disease reported one or more episodes of hypoglycaemia per month due to tight glycaemic control. We found increased poor quality of life in such patients. Older patients responded that they were more likely to be less anxious and more comfortable if their blood glucose level was in the range of 7–10 mmol/l than below 5 mmol/l.

Conclusion: We suggest that clinician’s practice should aim at supporting the well-being, good quality of life and healthy lifestyle of the older people with diabetes. Glycaemic control in this age group should be individualised to reflect patient’s clinical and personal needs and according to patient’s informed choice. By putting the ‘age’ and the ‘face’ on HbA1c both patients and clinicians will be able to achieve a better balance between good quality of life and acceptable glycaemic control.

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