Management of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in the Older Adult Patient With Diabetes

Older adults with diabetes are at higher risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) than younger adults with diabetes and older adults without diabetes. The rationale to implement ASCVD risk–lowering therapies in older adults with diabetes is compelling. Recommendations for lifestyle modification, lipid-lowering therapy, blood pressure management, blood glucose control, and aspirin therapy are often based on studies that show their efficacy in younger populations. However, the risks associated with each of these interventions increase with age, and favorable risk-to-benefit ratios demonstrated in younger adults with diabetes are less certain in older populations. The variability in health status among older adults is pertinent. Those with robust health are more likely to tolerate and derive benefit from many therapies when compared with those who have more complex health including frailty. Age- and/or frailty-stratified data to help clarify these relationships are sparse. In this Perspective, current recommendations for modifying ASCVD risk are described with a review of the pertinent literature that guides their application in older adults. A pragmatic approach to the treatment of ASCVD risk factors in older adults with diabetes is presented.

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