Diabetes and co-existing diseases

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 10, 2007

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A new study found the vast majority -- 92% -- of older people with diabetes have at least one other serious chronic medical condition and that nearly half had three or more major diseases besides their diabetes.

Patients often had a history of stroke or heart failure. Some had lung disease and more than half had arthritis.

The study, available online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine and in the December print edition, indicates that it is important for physicians to "treat the whole person," said the researchers. Patients should be helped to learn how to deal with their other conditions in ways that will help them control their diabetes.

For example, patients can be instructed in self-care for their diabetes and also told of the need to schedule exercise and follow an appropriate diet to help with other conditions, such as hypertension and heart failure.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System gathered their data from the Health and Retirement Study, which has surveyed the health of 22,000 Americans older than 50 every two years.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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