The Endocrine Society has published a new guideline for the treatment of diabetes among adults who are 65 years old and above.

The guideline, which was released on the opening day of the ENDO 2019 conference in New Orleans, provides healthcare providers strategies to address diabetes among older adults, with emphasis on overall health and quality of life.

"Treatment of Diabetes in Older Adults: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guidelines" appears online and is scheduled to be published in the May 2019 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Diabetes Among Older Americans

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, age is a major risk factor for developing diabetes. Adults aged 45 years and older are at a higher risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

An estimated 30.3 million Americans are suffering from the chronic condition. Often, older adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes also suffer from other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, impaired cognition and vision, and cardiovascular diseases.

Preventing Diabetes-Related Complications

"The guideline encourages clinicians to consider available evidence and a patient's overall health, likelihood to benefit from interventions and personal values when considering treatment goals such as glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol," stated Derek LeRoith, chairman of the committee that developed the new guideline. "Our framework prioritizes blood glucose targets over the hemoglobin A1c test when managing diabetes in older adults."

One of the recommendations from the guideline includes a simplified medication regiment with a tailored glycemic target. The goal is to improve compliance among older adults and prevent any complications that might arise due to treatment.

The Endocrine Society suggests keeping blood pressure levels at 140.90 mmHg to reduce the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and progressive chronic kidney disease. For blood sugar levels, the target is 100-140 mg/dL while fasting and 140-180 mg/dL after meals while avoiding hypoglycemia.

The committee also encourages annual comprehensive eye exams to detect retinal disease and the creation of a lipid profile to reduce bad cholesterol in the blood.

In addition, the guideline states that clinicians should perform regular prediabetes and diabetes screening among older adults and implement prevention strategies as soon as possible.

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