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Risk of falls in community-dwelling older adults aged 65 or over with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review
Phys Ther Rehabil Sci 2018;7:139-45
Published online September 30, 2018
© 2018 Korean Academy of Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science.

Sujin Hwang

Department of Physical Therapy, Division of Health Science, Baekseok University, Cheonan, Republic of Korea
Correspondence to: Sujin Hwang (ORCID
Department of Physical Therapy, Division of Health Science, Baekseok University, 76 Munam-ro, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan 31065, Republic of Korea
Tel: 82-41-550-2309 Fax: 82-41-550-2829 E-mail:
Received August 25, 2018; Revised September 17, 2018; Accepted September 17, 2018.
cc This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Objective: Older persons with diabetes mellitus (DM) are particularly more likely to have fallen in the previous year than those without DM. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the risk of falls and type 2 DM in older adults who are 65 years of age or above.
Design: A systematic review.
Methods: PubMed and other two databases were searched up to August 2, 2018. Observational and cohort studies evaluating fall risk in people who are 65 years of age or above with DM were included. This review extracted the following information from each study selected: first author’s surname, year of publication, country, average follow-up period, sex, age at enrollment, study population, measurement variables, relative risk, 95% confidence intervals and controlled variables.
Results: This review involved nine cohort studies with 3,765 older adults with DM and 12,989 older adults without DM. Six studies compared with or without DM and two studies compared fallers with non-fallers with DM. Risk factors for falls included impaired cognitive function, diabetes-related complications (peripheral nerve dysfunction, visual impairment), and physical function (balance, gait velocity, muscle strength, and severity of physical activities).
Conclusions: People who are 65 years of age or above with DM have increased risk of falling caused by impaired cognitive function, peripheral nerve dysfunction, visual impairment, and physical function in community-dwellers. For adults who are 65 years of age or older with DM, research fields and clinical settings should consider therapeutic approaches to improve these risk factors for falls.
Keywords : Accidental falls, Community, Diabetes mellitus


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