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Ken Fujioka Part 4, Treating Geriatric Diabetics

Feb 2, 2018

In part 4 of this Exclusive Interview, Dr. Ken Fujioka talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA 2017 Scientific Sessions in San Diego, CA about the success of the geriatric patient with diabetes who needs to lose weight.

Ken Fujioka, MD is director of the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center and the Center for Weight management in La Jolla California at the Scripps Clinic.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve:  What is the most difficult challenge in practicing diabetology, treating the overweight diabetic, especially the geriatric overweight diabetic? Diabetes in every age group is growing, especially that group.

Dr. Fujioka:  If you look at the group that is growing largest right now is the geriatrics obese diabetic. That’s a huge number of patients.  As these baby boomers are all turning mid-sixties now, this is just ushering in. So, we’ve really have to approach this group.  We have great medications for diabetes, to me that’s a new era.  I can give a medication for diabetes that causes weight loss. That is fantastic, I got part of the equation.  But we still have to deal with activity, food intake, and behavioral changes that need to come with this. The beautiful part is, now we have found out that the geriatric patient does better.  This data will be presented at this meeting. For some reasons, as we get older, we are actually better at following diets and losing weight. If we can recognize it and be able to help out the geriatric patient, we will do well.  We need to teach this to doctors; this is the hardest part – getting this taught to the physicians.

Steve: Why do you think geriatric patients pay more attention and are more successful than twenty or thirty year olds?  It is because we are closer to death, we are concerned about dying and we think about it? Whereas the twenty-year-old does not think about it?

Dr. Fujioka: They’re indestructible. Yeah. There is something to be said for maturity, being older and more mature, we get it.  Not everybody gets out of here alive.  But the other one is, as patients get older, oftentimex have more time to take care of themselves.  So in other words, they are not in the rush, they don’t have to get that closest parking place. They can park further away, and they can walk because they have more time.  I actually love patients that have just retired.  I can now change their life.  I can say, look, retiring from this job, we got a new job.  We have to move you in the right direction, so we will put in yoga, exercise, healthy living, and healthy behaviors. The geriatric group is very good about this, and for a lack of a better term, they get it.

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