Objectives: To review all published observational studies reporting on all-cause mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes to determine the degree of increased mortality when diagnosed at an older age.
Design: Systematic literature search.
Setting: The review included studies carried out in populations from Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Italy, Western Australia, Netherlands and Sweden.
Measurements: Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE, National Research Register and Cochrane Reviews were systematically searched from 1975 to 2004. We identified observational studies that reported overall mortality for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when they were over the age of 60, compared with a non-diabetic population. Outcome measures were expressed as risk ratios or relative risks.
Results: Among 14 eligible studies, one study reported reduced mortality for patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over the age of 60, whereas another found virtually no increased risk of mortality. However, 7 of the 14 studies reported increased mortality in all patients diagnosed when older, and 5 studies for certain subgroups only. A meta-analysis showed the combined relative risks (with 95% CI) of increased mortality for men diagnosed between the ages of 60 and 70 to be 1.38 (1.08-1.76) and 1.13 (0.88-1.45) for men diagnosed aged 70 years or older. A similar pattern was found for the same age groups for women, with combined relative risks of 1.40 (1.10-1.79) and 1.19 (0.93-1.52) respectively.
Conclusion: Increased mortality associated with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes at an older age is lower than that reported for the general older diabetic population.