Use of Intensive Glycemic Management in Older Adults with Diabetes Mellitus
To examine the proportion of older adults with diabetes mellitus treated with tight glucose control and the factors associated with this practice.
Outpatient sites in the Diabetes Collaborative Registry (N=151).
Adults aged 75 and older with type 2 diabetes mellitus (N=42,669).
Participants were categorized based on glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and glucose‐lowering medications: poor control (HbA1c >9%), moderate control (HbA1c 8–9%), conservative control (HbA1c 7–8%), tight control (HbA1c <7%) with low‐risk agents (low risk for hypoglycemia), tight control with high‐risk agents, and diet control (HbA1c <7% taking no glucose‐lowering medications). We used hierarchical logistic regression to examine participant and site factors associated with tight control and high‐risk agents versus conservative or tight control and low‐risk agents.
Of 30,696 participants without diet‐controlled diabetes, 5,596 (18%) had moderate or poor control, 9,227 (30%) had conservative control, 7,893 (26%) had tight control taking low‐risk agents, and 7,980 (26%) had tight control taking high‐risk agents. Older age, male sex, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and coronary artery disease were each independently associated with greater odds of tight control with high‐risk agents. There were no differences according to practice specialty (endocrinology, primary care, cardiology) in how aggressively participants were managed.
One‐quarter of U.S. older adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus are tightly controlled with glucose‐lowering medications that have a high risk of hypoglycemia. These results suggest potential overtreatment of a substantial proportion of people and should encourage further efforts to translate guidelines to daily practice.