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Endocrine Disorders in Geriatric Patients

Endocrine Disorders in Geriatric Patients

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Endocrine Disorders in Geriatric Patients


This week, you have learned about common Endocrine disorders in Adult and Geriatric patients. For this discussion, select one of the following Endocrine disorders and provide the following in your initial post:

  • Common Signs and symptoms seen
  • Screening assessment tools
  • Recommended diagnostic tests (if any)
  • Treatment plans, both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic, based on current clinical practice guidelines

Endocrine Disorders:

  • Diabetes
  • Hyper/hypothyroidism
  • Pituitary Disorders



Common Signs and Symptoms:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: Common symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and blurred vision. In severe cases, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can occur, leading to nausea, vomiting, and rapid breathing.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Often asymptomatic initially, but common signs include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing wounds, and recurring infections.

Screening Assessment Tools:

  • Screening for diabetes often involves blood tests. Fasting blood glucose levels and HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) are commonly used to diagnose and monitor diabetes.

Recommended Diagnostic Tests:

  • Fasting Blood Glucose Test: This test measures blood sugar levels after an overnight fast. A fasting blood glucose level of 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate occasions typically indicates diabetes.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): This test involves fasting overnight and then consuming a glucose solution, followed by blood sugar checks at specific intervals. A 2-hour blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher confirms diabetes.
  • HbA1c Test: This test measures average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. An HbA1c level of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes.


Aging & the Endocrine System Content for this module provided by The John  A. Hartford Foundation, Institute for Geriatric Nursing, Online  Gerontological.



Treatment Plans:


  • Type 1 Diabetes: Insulin replacement therapy is essential for people with type 1 diabetes. Multiple daily injections or an insulin pump may be required.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Treatment often starts with lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise. If blood sugar levels remain high, oral antidiabetic medications (e.g., metformin) or injectable medications (e.g., insulin or GLP-1 receptor agonists) may be prescribed. The choice of medication depends on the individual’s health and needs.


  • Diet and Exercise: Encouraging a balanced diet and regular physical activity is crucial for managing diabetes. This helps control blood sugar levels and improve overall health.
  • Blood Sugar Monitoring: Regular self-monitoring of blood glucose levels allows individuals to make necessary adjustments to their treatment plan.
  • Education: Providing education on diabetes management, including carbohydrate counting, insulin administration, and recognizing and managing hypoglycemia, is essential.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess weight can significantly improve blood sugar control, especially in type 2 diabetes.
  • Stress Management: Stress management techniques can help prevent blood sugar spikes.

It’s important to note that diabetes management is individualized, and treatment plans can vary depending on the type of diabetes, its severity, and the patient’s overall health. The guidelines may evolve, so healthcare professionals should stay updated with the latest recommendations for managing diabetes effectively.

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