2002 Volume 39 Issue 4 Pages 396-399
Because of diversities of physical, mental, and psychological functions as well as clinical and social backgrounds, comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) is of great importance in treating elderly diabetic patients. We addressed three issues as to functions important for the CGA.
First, we assessed several domains of cognitive function in 213 elderly diabetic patients. Attention and visual memory in diabetic patients without vascular disease were impaired compared with non-diabetic controls after adjusting for age and sex using analysis of covariance. Multivariate analysis revealed that age, hyperglycemia, and the presence of cerebral infarction were independent determinants for the impairment of attention in the diabetic patients. The results suggest that glucose control is important for the maintenance of cognitive function in elderly diabetic patients. Secondly, we assessed positive well-being as a measure of psychological function using a PGC morale scale in 197 elderly diabetic patients without cerebrovascular disease at baseline and examined whether the low well-being affect the development of cerebrovascular disease in a 3-year longitudinal study. The results indicate that low well-being was an independent risk factor for cerebrovascular disease after adjusting conventional risk factors in elderly diabetic patients. Thirdly, as a physical function, we assessed 5-m walking speed for both usual and maximum walking in 64 diabetic patients. The walking speed decreased with age and correlated significantly with the knee extension power and functional reach. The result suggests that muscle-strength exercise and balance training as well as endurance exercises are necessary to improve age-related decreases in walking speed and for effective exercise in elderly patients. From a gerontological point of view, new strategies of elderly diabetes treatment including muscle strength exercise and psychological approaches should be established to improve physical, mental, psychological, and social functions as assessed by the CGA.