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Severe Hypoglycemia May Up Fall Risk in Older Adults With T2DM

Twofold higher risk seen for diabetes patients with a severe hypoglycemia event

FRIDAY, Sept. 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Severe hypoglycemia is associated with a substantially higher risk for falls among community-dwelling adults with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the September issue of Diabetes Care.

Alexandra K. Lee, Ph.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues used data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study to identify 1,162 participants with diagnosed diabetes at visit 4 (1996 to 1998). The authors evaluated the association between severe hypoglycemia and falls.

The researchers found that 149 participants (12.8 percent) ever had a severe hypoglycemic event either before baseline or during the median of 13.1 years of follow-up. The rate of falls among persons without severe hypoglycemia was 2.17 per 100 person-years versus 8.81 per 100 person-years for individuals with severe hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemia was associated with a higher risk for falls in an adjusted analysis (hazard ratio, 2.23). Findings were consistent when examining subgroups by age, sex, race, body mass index, duration of diabetes, or functional difficulty.

“Fall risk should be considered when individualizing glycemic treatment in older adults,” the authors write. “Assessing hypoglycemia history and future hypoglycemia risk could also improve multifactorial fall prevention interventions for older adults with diabetes.”

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