Aging, diabetes, and the public health system in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2012 Aug;102(8):1482-97. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300616. Epub 2012 Jun 14.


Diabetes (diagnosed or undiagnosed) affects 10.9 million US adults aged 65 years and older. Almost 8 in 10 have some form of dysglycemia, according to tests for fasting glucose or hemoglobin A1c. Among this age group, diagnosed diabetes is projected to reach 26.7 million by 2050, or 55% of all diabetes cases. In 2007, older adults accounted for $64.8 billion (56%) of direct diabetes medical costs, $41.1 billion for institutional care alone. Complications, comorbid conditions, and geriatric syndromes affect diabetes care, and medical guidelines for treating older adults with diabetes are limited. Broad public health programs help, but effective, targeted interventions and expanded surveillance and research and better policies are needed to address the rapidly growing diabetes burden among older adults.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States