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Correlates of quality of life in older adults with diabetes: the diabetes & aging study

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate associations between health-related quality of life (HRQL) and geriatric syndromes, diabetes complications, and hypoglycemia in older adults with diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A race-stratified random sample of 6,317 adults with type 2 or type 1 diabetes, aged 60 to 75 years, enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Northern California, who completed a survey that included a HRQL instrument based on the Short Form 8-item health survey. Administrative records were used to ascertain diagnoses of geriatric syndromes, diabetes complications, and hypoglycemia. Associations were estimated between HRQL and exposures in exposure-specific and combined exposure models (any syndrome, any complication, or hypoglycemia). Conservatively, differences of >/=3 points were considered the minimally important difference in HRQL scores. RESULTS: HRQL was lower with nearly all exposures of interest. The lowest physical HRQL was associated with amputation. In combined exposure models, geriatric syndromes (-5.3 [95% CI -5.8 to -4.8], P < 0.001) and diabetes complications (-3.5 [-4.0 to -2.9], P < 0.001) were associated with lower physical HRQL. The lowest mental HRQL was associated with depression, underweight (BMI <18 kg/m(2)), amputation, and hypoglycemia. In combined exposure models, only hypoglycemia was associated with lower mental HRQL (-4.0 [-7.0 to -1.1], P = 0.008). CONCLUSIONS: Geriatric syndromes and hypoglycemia are associated with lower HRQL to a comparable degree as diabetes complications. Addressing geriatric syndromes and avoiding hypoglycemia should be given as high a priority as preventing diabetes complications in older adults with diabetes.

Authors: Laiteerapong N; Karter AJ; Liu JY; Moffet HH; Sudore R; Schillinger D; John PM; Huang ES

Diabetes Care. 2011 Aug;34(8):1749-53. Epub 2011 Jun 2.

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