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U.K. Study Says Older People with Diabetes Run Greater Risk of Disabilities

A British study of 800 people 65 and older concludes that people with diabetes are more likely than non-diabetics to experience difficulties walking, dressing and climbing stairs.

Researchers at the University of Bedfordshire found that 46 percent of older people with diabetes relied on some sort of walking aid, such as a cane or walker, versus 31 percent of elderly people without diabetes. The study also found that 4 percent of people with diabetes were “highly dependent” on caretakers, compared to 1 percent of non-diabetics.

The researchers suggested that problems with mobility in patients with diabetes were an outcome of the leg nerve damage and circulation problems associated with diabetes. Other factors associated with mobility problems in people with diabetes were the higher incidences of stroke, heat attack and high blood pressure among them.

The study recommended that increased exercise, including strength training, can help mitigate the effects of diabetes, increase mobility and lead to better blood sugar control.

Source: Diabetes Care, February 2008.

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