Epidemiology of diabetes and diabetes complications in the elderly: an emerging public health burden

Curr Diab Rep. 2013 Dec;13(6):805-13. doi: 10.1007/s11892-013-0425-5.


Diabetes in the elderly is a growing public health burden. Persons with diabetes are living longer and are vulnerable to the traditional microvascular and macrovascular complications of diabetes but also at increased risk for geriatric syndromes. Peripheral vascular disease, heart disease, and stroke all have a high prevalence among older adults with diabetes. Traditional microvascular complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy also frequently occur. Unique to this older population is the effect of diabetes on functional status. Older adults with diabetes are also more likely to experience geriatric syndromes such as falls, dementia, depression, and incontinence. Further studies are needed to better characterize those elderly individuals who may be at the highest risk of adverse complications from diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Public Health