OBJECTIVE - Diabetes is a major cause of functional decline among older adults, but the role of glycemic control remains unclear. This article assesses whether better glycemic control is associated with better maintenance of lower-extremity function over time in older adults with diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - Participants (n = 119) in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, ages 71-85, who met American Diabetes Association diabetes criteria were followed over a 36-month period. Seven measures of A1C (HbA 1c) were obtained at 6-month intervals; three measures of lower-extremity function were obtained at 18-month intervals using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). A two-step analytic approach was used, first, to identify distinct glycemic control classes using latent growth mixture modeling and, second, to examine trajectories of lower-extremity function based on these classes using path analysis. RESULTS - Two glycemic control classes were identified: a poorer control class with higher means (all >7%) and higher within-subject variability in HbA 1c and a better control class with lower means (all <7%) and lower within-subject variability. The short-term and long-term maintenance of lower-extremity function, assessed by the association between the first and second SPPB measures and the first and third SPPB measures, were both greater in the better control class than in the poorer control class. CONCLUSIONS - Among older adults with diabetes, better glycemic control may improve both short-term and long-term maintenance of lower-extremity function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing