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Frailty and it’s correlation with diabetes and prediabetes

Despite all the awareness efforts throughout the years, diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. We still have much to learn about this disease, and while many know that diabetes can cause serious health complications, including blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations, few know that it is also one of the major risk factors for frailty.

Frailty is a clinical geriatric syndrome of progressive physical decline that is known to increase risk for multiple complications with aging, such as, falls, disability or nursing home placement, and death,” explained Sara E. Espinoza, M.D., a physician at South Texas Veterans Health Care System and associate professor at UT Health San Antonio. “People who have higher sugar levels than normal are at higher risk for becoming frail,” she said, “that means not just people with diabetes, but also people that have prediabetes, or are borderline diabetics.”

Because there is no known prevention or treatment for frailty yet, Dr. Espinoza has made it her mission to find one and is currently doing a study to determine whether metformin, a drug commonly used to treat diabetes, may also help prevent or reduce frailty in individuals 65 or older who have prediabetes.

In the meantime, Dr. Espinoza recommends maintaining healthy body weight by following a healthy diet low in fat and sodium, as well as exercise that may improve muscle strength, endurance, mobility, gait velocity, and functional performance to help keep frailty at bay.

For more information about the study, please call (210) 450-0020.