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Correlates of Quality of Life in Older Adults With Diabetes
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  • Description:

    To evaluate associations between health-related quality of life (HRQL) and geriatric syndromes, diabetes complications, and hypoglycemia in older adults with diabetes.


    A race-stratified random sample of 6,317 adults with type 2 or type 1 diabetes, aged 60 to 75 years, enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Northern California, who completed a survey that included a HRQL instrument based on the Short Form 8-item health survey. Administrative records were used to ascertain diagnoses of geriatric syndromes, diabetes complications, and hypoglycemia. Associations were estimated between HRQL and exposures in exposure-specific and combined exposure models (any syndrome, any complication, or hypoglycemia). Conservatively, differences of ≥3 points were considered the minimally important difference in HRQL scores.


    HRQL was lower with nearly all exposures of interest. The lowest physical HRQL was associated with amputation. In combined exposure models, geriatric syndromes (−5.3 [95% CI −5.8 to −4.8], P < 0.001) and diabetes complications (−3.5 [−4.0 to −2.9], P < 0.001) were associated with lower physical HRQL. The lowest mental HRQL was associated with depression, underweight (BMI <18 kg/m2), amputation, and hypoglycemia. In combined exposure models, only hypoglycemia was associated with lower mental HRQL (−4.0 [−7.0 to −1.1], P = 0.008).


    Geriatric syndromes and hypoglycemia are associated with lower HRQL to a comparable degree as diabetes complications. Addressing geriatric syndromes and avoiding hypoglycemia should be given as high a priority as preventing diabetes complications in older adults with diabetes.

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  • Funding:
    1U58-DP-002007-02/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
    F32 DK089973/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    F32 DK089973-01/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    F32-DK-089973/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    P60-DK-20595/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    R01 DK065664/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    R01 DK081796/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    R01 HD046113/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    R01-DK-065664/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    R01-DK-080726/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    R01-DK-081796/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    R01-HD-46113/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    RC1-DK-086178/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    T32-HS000084/HS/AHRQ HHS/United States
    UL1-RR-024131/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
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