14 October 2013

PARIS: Older adults with diabetes are between 50 and 80 per cent likelier to have a disability compared to people without the disease, according to a review published on Wednesday.

Researchers at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne,  Australia, trawled through more than 3,200 previously published studies that  explored the link between diabetes and disability.

They narrowed the catch down to 26 studies that compared like with like.

Most of the people in these studies were aged over 65 — an age category in  which Type-2 diabetes, also called adult onset diabetes, predominates.

Disability was defined as either crimped mobility or an impaired ability to  perform daily activities such as bathing, eating, using the phone, shopping and  using transport.

Lead epidemiologist Anna Peeters said the association between diabetes and  disability was long known but until now poorly identified.

The causes remain mysterious, she said.

“It’s possible that the high blood glucose concentrations experienced by  people with diabetes might lead to chronic muscle inflammation, eventually  resulting in physical disability, and some studies have shown that diabetes is  associated with rapid and worsening muscle wasting,” she said.

“The complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke,  and kidney disease, can all result in disability.

“As the world’s population ages, and diabetes becomes more common, it seems  clear that we will see an increased need for disability-related health  resources.”    The paper appears in the journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

According to the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO), 347 million people  around the world have diabetes, a disease in which the body fails to break down  glucose in the blood through the hormone insulin.

Ninety per cent of these have the Type 2 form of the disease, which  typically shows up in adulthood or late childhood, driven by obesity and a  sedentary lifestyle. —    AFP

This article was first published in www.nst.com.my on 24 July 2013.