Author(s): Oiknine R, Mooradian AD
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Abstract The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus is increasing in the elderly. Although type 1 diabetic patients are living longer, over 95\% of elderly people affected with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This segment of the population, comprising men and women older than 65 years of age, is more likely to develop coexisting illnesses predisposing to the development of diabetes and complicating its management. In addition to changes in lifestyle, inherent age-related changes in carbohydrate metabolism contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes in old age. The long-term outcome of tight blood sugar control in the elderly is not known. Nevertheless the principles of management of type 2 diabetes in the elderly are essentially the same as in young- or middle-aged diabetic patients. Lifestyle modifications remain the cornerstone of medical therapy. When diet and exercise fail to achieve proper glycemic control, oral pharmacologic therapy and/or insulin therapy is indicated. The recently available oral glucose lowering agents in the market along with the newer types of insulin can be used in elderly diabetic patients. The effect of aging on metabolism and drug elimination kinetics must, however, be taken into consideration. In particular, it should be borne in mind that the risk of hypoglycemia is more deleterious in the elderly and should be avoided. In this review, the various pharmacologic agents available for the management of diabetes will be reviewed and some pertinent clinical guidelines will be suggested.
This article was published in Biomed Pharmacother
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research