Mortality implications of prediabetes and diabetes in older adults

Olive Tang, Kunihiro Matsushita, Josef Coresh, A. Richey Sharrett, John W. McEvoy, B. Gwen Windham, Christie M. Ballantyne, Elizabeth Selvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Diabetes in older age is heterogeneous, and the treatment approach varies by patient characteristics. We characterized the short-term all-cause and cardiovascular mortality risk associated with hyperglycemia in older age. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We included 5,791 older adults in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study who attended visit 5 (2011-2013; ages 66-90 years). We compared prediabetes (HbA1c 5.7% to <6.5%), newly diagnosed diabetes (HbA1c ≥6.5%, prior diagnosis <1 year, or taking antihyperglycemic medications <1 year), short-duration diabetes (duration ≥1 year but <10 years [median]), and long-standing diabetes (duration ≥10 years). Outcomes were all-cause and cardiovascular mortality (median follow-up of 5.6 years). RESULTS: Participants were 58% female, and 24% had prevalent cardiovascular disease. All-cause mortality rates, per 1,000 person-years, were 21.2 (95% CI 18.7, 24.1) among those without diabetes, 23.7 (95% CI 20.8, 27.1) for those with prediabetes, 33.8 (95%CI25.2,45.5) among those with recently diagnosed diabetes, 29.6(95%CI25.0, 35.1) for those with diabetes of short duration, and 48.6 (95% CI 42.4, 55.7) for those with long-standing diabetes. Cardiovascular mortality rates, per 1,000 person-years, were 5.8 (95% CI 4.6, 7.4) among those without diabetes, 6.6 (95% CI 5.2, 8.5) for those with prediabetes, 11.5 (95% CI 7.0, 19.1) among those with recently diagnosed diabetes, 8.2 (95% CI 5.9, 11.3) for those with diabetes of short duration, and 17.3 (95% CI 13.8, 21.7) for those with longstanding diabetes. After adjustment for other cardiovascular risk factors, prediabetes and newly diagnosed diabetes were not significantly associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1.03 [95% CI 0.85, 1.23] and HR 1.31 [95% CI 0.94, 1.82], respectively) or cardiovascular mortality (HR 1.00 [95% CI 0.70, 1.43] and HR 1.35 [95% CI 0.74, 2.49], respectively). Excess mortality risk was primarily concentrated among those with long-standing diabetes (all-cause: HR 1.71 [95% CI 1.40, 2.10]; cardiovascular: HR 1.72 [95% CI 1.18, 2.51]). CONCLUSIONS: In older adults, long-standing diabetes has a substantial and independent effect on short-term mortality. Older individuals with prediabetes remained at low mortality risk over a median 5.6 years of follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-388
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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