Clinical features of geriatric syndromes in older Koreans with diabetes mellitus

Geriatric Syndromes Study Group of Korea Geriatrics Society

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Background: This study explored the prevalence and clinical characteristics of geriatric syndromes among Korean older adults with diabetes mellitus (DM). Methods: We used data from the 2017 National Survey of Older Koreans to analyze the classic geriatric syndromes of polypharmacy, urinary incontinence, falls, cognitive impairment, and functional impairment according to the presence of DM. Results: Among 10,299 participants aged 65 years or older, 2,395 had DM. The prevalence of polypharmacy was 64.1% in the DM group and 31.6% in the non-DM group (p<0.001). One or more falls per year occurred in 18.7% of participants with DM compared with 14.9% of those without DM (p<0.001). The prevalence of urinary incontinence was significantly higher in the DM group (3.8%) than in the non-DM group (2.5%) (p=0.001). The prevalence of cognitive impairment was 17.7% in the DM group versus 14.9% in the non-DM group (p=0.001). Functional impairment occurred in 32.2% of participants in the DM group compared with 26.8% of participants in the non-DM group (p<0.001). Finally, the number of geriatric syndromes was significantly associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in patients with DM. Conclusion: The results of this study showed a higher prevalence of geriatric syndromes among older Korean adults with DM. In addition, the coexistence of multiple geriatric syndromes was associated with CVD and CKD among patients with DM. These findings support the current guidelines for older adults with DM that recommend assessment for geriatric syndromes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Geriatric Medicine and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2019



  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Geriatric assessment
  • Geriatric syndrome

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