Profile of diabetes in men aged 79-97 years: The Western Australian Health in Men Study

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Abstract

Aims To investigate behavioural, physical and biochemical characteristics associated with diabetes in the oldest age group of elderly men. Methods We conducted a cross‐sectional analysis of community‐dwelling men aged 79–97 years from Perth, Western Australia. Lifestyle behaviours, self‐rated health, physical function, and fasting glucose and HbA1c levels were assessed. Results Of 1426 men, 315 had diabetes (22%). Men with diabetes were of similar age to men without (84.9 vs 84.5 years; P = 0.14). Only 26.5% of men with diabetes self‐rated their health as excellent or very good, compared with 40.6% of men without diabetes (P < 0.001). Diabetes was associated with less involvement with recreational walking (32.7 vs 41.0%; P < 0.01) and leisure activities (19.0 vs 26.5%; P < 0.01). Men with diabetes had poorer physical function on multiple measures, including longer times for the Timed Up‐and‐Go test (15.0 ± 6.9 s vs 13.4 ± 5.3 s; P < 0.001) and weaker knee extension (20.2 vs 21.9 kg; P < 0.001). In multivariate analyses, diabetes was associated with an increased prevalence of myocardial infarction (odds ratio 1.80, 95% CI 1.25–2.60; P < 0.001) and falls resulting in injury (odds ratio 1.55, 95% CI 1.06–2.26; P = 0.02). Average HbA1c was 49 ± 8 mmol/mol (6.6 ± 0.8%) in men with diabetes, with 90.6% of these men on diet or oral hypoglycaemic therapy. Conclusions In older men, diabetes is associated with poorer self‐perceived health, reduced healthy lifestyle behaviours and physical function, heart disease and injurious falls. The majority of these men with diabetes had good glycaemic control. Encouraging healthy lifestyle behaviours and improving physical function should be evaluated as interventions to improve quality‐of‐life and health outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-793
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Volume34
Issue number6
Early online date2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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