Rates of population ageing are unprecedented and this, combined with the progressive urbanization of lifestyles, has led to a dramatic shift in the epidemiology of diabetes towards old age, particularly to those aged 60-79 years. Both ageing and diabetes are recognized as important risk factors for the development of functional decline and disability. In addition, diabetes is associated with a high economic, social and health burden. Traditional macrovascular and microvascular complications of diabetes appear to account for less than half of the diabetes-related disability observed in older people. Despite this, older adults are under-represented in clinical trials. Guidelines from organizations such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, and the American Diabetes Association acknowledge the need for individualized care, but the glycaemic targets that are suggested to constitute good control [HbA1c 53-59 mmol/mol (7-7.5%)] are too tight for frail older individuals. We present a framework for the assessment of older adults and guidelines for the management of this population according to their frailty status, with the intention of reducing complications and improving quality of life for these people.
© 2018 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Diabetes UK.