Prognosis of diabetes mellitus

Patient education, understanding, and participation is vital since the complications of diabetes mellitus are far less common and less severe in people who have well-controlled blood sugar levels. Wider health problems accelerate the deleterious effects of diabetes. These include smoking, elevated cholesterol levels, obesity, high blood pressure, and lack of regular exercise. According to one study, women with high blood pressure (hypertension) were three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as compared with women with optimal BP after adjusting for various factors such as age, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index (BMI), exercise, family history of diabetes, etc. The study was conducted by researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, USA, who followed over 38,000 female health professionals for ten years.

The way diabetes is managed changes with age. Insulin production decreases because of age-related impairment of pancreatic beta cells. Additionally, insulin resistance increases because of the loss of lean tissue and the accumulation of fat, particularly intra-abdominal fat, and the decreased tissue sensitivity to insulin. Glucose tolerance progressively declines with age, leading to a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes and postchallenge hyperglycemia in the older population. Age-related glucose intolerance in humans is often accompanied by insulin resistance, but circulating insulin levels are similar to those of younger people. Treatment goals for older patients with diabetes vary with the individual, and take into account health status, as well as life expectancy, level of dependence, and willingness to adhere to a treatment regimen.