BACKGROUND: Current diabetic care guidelines focus mainly on managing metabolic control and macro- and microvascular comorbidities. This focus may be too narrow given the number of geriatric conditions present in these often aged patients.
METHODS: We studied the prevalence of multimorbidity, (undiagnosed) geriatric conditions and disabilities in diabetic patients with macrovascular complications.
RESULTS: One hundred forty-three community dwelling, insulin-dependent diabetic patients with macrovascular complications, aged 55 years and above, who were concurrently enrolled in the diabetes care clinic in a university hospital in the Netherlands, participated. Data on healthcare utilization, activities of daily living, geriatric conditions and quality of life were self-reported using a systematic diagnostic questionnaire. Mean age was 66.9 years (8.5 years), 62% were male and 22% were of Surinamese-South Asian descent. Loneliness was reported by 47%. The majority rated their quality of life (QoL) from 'reasonable' (45%) to 'good' (31%). In patients without ADL impairments, 60% were in need of assistance, compared to 95% among those with more than one impairment (p<0.01). In total, 19% had cognitive impairment, and 63% perceived pain. 84% of patients with impairments experienced social problems compared to 32% of patients in the other group.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that the current focus of diabetes care may be too restricted given the high number of geriatric conditions that these patients present.