Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 272–279 | Cite as

Geriatric Conditions Develop in Middle-Aged Adults with Diabetes

  • Christine T. CigolleEmail author
  • Pearl G. Lee
  • Kenneth M. Langa
  • Yuo-Yu Lee
  • Zhiyi Tian
  • Caroline S. Blaum
Original Research



Geriatric conditions, collections of symptoms common in older adults and not necessarily associated with a specific disease, increase in prevalence with advancing age. These conditions are important contributors to the complex health status of older adults. Diabetes mellitus is known to co-occur with geriatric conditions in older adults and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of some conditions.


To investigate the prevalence and incidence of geriatric conditions in middle-aged and older-aged adults with diabetes.


Secondary analysis of nationally-representative, longitudinal health interview survey data (Health and Retirement Study waves 2004 and 2006).


Respondents 51 years and older in 2004 (n = 18,908).


Diabetes mellitus. Eight geriatric conditions: cognitive impairment, falls, incontinence, low body mass index, dizziness, vision impairment, hearing impairment, pain.


Adults with diabetes, compared to those without, had increased prevalence and increased incidence of geriatric conditions across the age spectrum (p < 0.01 for each age group from 51-54 years old to 75–79 years old). Differences between adults with and without diabetes were most marked in middle-age. Diabetes was associated with the two-year cumulative incidence of acquiring new geriatric conditions (odds ratio, 95% confidence interval: 1.8, 1.6–2.0). A diabetes-age interaction was discovered: as age increased, the association of diabetes with new geriatric conditions decreased.


Middle-aged, as well as older-aged, adults with diabetes are at increased risk for the development of geriatric conditions, which contribute substantially to their morbidity and functional impairment. Our findings suggest that adults with diabetes should be monitored for the development of these conditions beginning at a younger age than previously thought.


diabetes mellitus geriatric conditions middle-age 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Cathy Emiline-Fegan for her assistance with manuscript preparation.

Funding Sources

Dr. Cigolle was supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Aging (1F32AG027649-01), the NIH-NCRR KL2 Mentored Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), and the John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence in Geriatrics at the University of Michigan. Dr. Lee was supported by the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center at the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor VA GRECC. Dr. Langa was supported by National Institute on Aging R01 AG 027010. Dr. Blaum was supported by National Institute on Aging R01 AG021493A and the Ann Arbor VA GRECC. The National Institute on Aging provided funding for the Health and Retirement Study (U01 AG09740), data from which were used in this study.

Conflict of Interest

None disclosed.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine T. Cigolle
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Pearl G. Lee
    • 2
    • 4
  • Kenneth M. Langa
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
  • Yuo-Yu Lee
    • 2
  • Zhiyi Tian
    • 2
  • Caroline S. Blaum
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)Ann ArborUSA
  5. 5.VA Ann Arbor Center for Practice Management and Outcomes ResearchAnn ArborUSA

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