Diabetes mellitus and geriatric syndromes

Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2009 Jun;9(2):105-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2008.00495.x.


Diabetes mellitus is associated with an increased prevalence and incidence of geriatric syndrome: functional disabilities, depression, fall, urinary incontinence, malnutrition and cognitive impairment. Geriatric syndrome not only leads to frailty, loss of independence and low quality of life, but also becomes a major obstacle in the treatment and care of diabetic people. The risk factors or contributing factors of geriatric symptoms are micro- and macrovascular complications, age-rated comorbid disease and aging per se. Comprehensive geriatric assessment of geriatric syndrome, including basic activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, gait and balance, visual acuity, the Mini-Mental State Examination, depression scores, history and risk of fall, urination and nutrition, should be performed as part of the care of elderly diabetic patients, in particular old-old patients. Because geriatric syndromes are multifactorial and share risk factors, diabetic people with any geriatric symptoms should be treated with a common concentric strategy, such as supervised exercise therapy including muscle-strengthening training, psychological support, social support for adherence, and good glycemic control with avoidance of hypoglycemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Syndrome