The social burden of hypoglycemia in the elderly

Antonio Nicolucci, Basilio Pintaudi, Maria Chiara Rossi, Roberto Messina, Francesco Dotta, Simona Frontoni, Salvatore Caputo, Renato Lauro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

29 Citazioni (Scopus)


Aims: The study aimed to evaluate the frequency of episodes of symptomatic hypoglycemia (SH) in elderly patients with type 2 diabetes and their impact on quality of life. Methods: The study was conducted in 12 Italian regions. Participants filled in a questionnaire collecting data on socio-demographic and clinical characteristics and episodes of SH occurred in the last 4 weeks. The questionnaire included validated scales measuring fear of hypoglycemia (FHQ), psychological well-being (WHO-5), and diabetes-related distress (PAID-5). Results: Overall, 1,323 participants were involved (mean age 70.0 ± 8.7, 47.6 % male, disease duration 15.6 ± 11.7, 63.2 % treated with oral agents, 16.9 % with insulin alone, 14.4 % with insulin plus oral agents), of whom 44.6 % reported 1–3 episodes of SH and 23.8 % reported more than 3 episodes. Patients who reported SH had significantly higher levels of fear of hypoglycemia, lower psychological well-being, and higher diabetes-related distress (p < 0.0001 for all the scales). At multivariate analysis, the experience of more than 3 episodes of hypoglycemia was associated with a 13-fold higher risk of high fear of hypoglycemia (aOR = 13.3; CI 95 % 8.4–21.0), an almost 60-fold higher risk of high diabetes-related distress (PAID-5 score ≥40) (aOR = 59.1; CI 95 % 29.2–119.8), and a higher risk of low psychological well-being (WHO-5 <50) (aOR = 1.5; CI 95 % 0.9–2.4). Conclusions: The occurrence of symptoms of hypoglycemia is very common among older adults with diabetes and their presence is associated with an extremely negative impact on quality of life. Minimizing the risk of hypoglycemia represents a high priority in the diabetes treatment of elderly people.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)677-685
Numero di pagine9
RivistaActa Diabetologica
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Distress
  • Elderly
  • Fear of hypoglycemia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Insulin
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Quality of life
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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