Diabetes in older adults: experience from a rural community in south-east Nigeria
Abstract
Author(s): M M Mezie-Okoye

Diabetes is increasing globally with low- and middleincome countries bearing the greatest burden and the older population most affected. This study sought to highlight the problem of diabetes among older adults who participated in a health programme in a rural community. Fasting blood glucose levels and blood pressure of 147 people, aged between 40 years and above, in a rural community in south-east Nigeria were measured. The mean age of participants was 62±10y (1.SD) Thirty-seven (25.2%) were diabetic, 16 (43%) of which were undiagnosed. Most (67%) were aged 50 to 69 years. Twelve (8.2%) had impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG), of which 83% were aged 60 to 79 years. Male gender was moderately associated with the risk of diabetes, while family history was strongly associated. Twenty-five (67%) of the 37 diabetic patients were hypertensive, and only one (5%) of the 21 with known diabetes had a fasting glucose <7.0mmol/L. This report showed a high prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes and impaired fasting glycaemia among these participants in a rural health programme. There is a strong implication for robust studies to validate these findings and an urgent need to improve access to healthcare for rural dwellers.

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