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Diabetes Is Most Common Reason for Frequent ER Visits by Older Adults

Chronic pulmonary, kidney and cardiac issues also lead to multiple trips

nurses wheel a patient through an emergency room
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Among older adults who frequently go to hospital emergency rooms, diabetes-related conditions are the most common reason for visits, a study finds, with other chronic ailments such as chronic pulmonary disease and renal disease close behind.

The results of the study, based on health records for California older adults from 2014, were published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

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For the study, researchers from the University of California, San Diego analyzed the records of adults age 65 and older who visited an ER in California six or more times over the course of a year. The more than 70,000 patients fitting that description represented 5.6 percent of all older adults who visited an ER and accounted for 21.2 percent of visits. Among those, 25.8 percent were diabetes patients and 21.5 percent had a chronic pulmonary disease diagnosis, followed by renal disease (19.1 percent), congestive heart failure (16 percent) and peripheral vascular disease, dealing with narrow or blocked blood vessels (15.1 percent).

In their conclusion, the authors wrote that the findings suggest a need for more intervention “that could potentially decrease frequent [ER] use among geriatric patients.”

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