Adults age 55 and older with hematological malignancies who require hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for survival are at risk for a number of nonmalignancy-related, potentially life-threatening outcomes, often due to suboptimal immune function. Evidence is emerging regarding how abnormal glycemic levels-newly termed malglycemia-impair cells of the immune system. Further, older adult HCT recipients appear highly susceptible to malglycemic states, particularly hyperglycemia, due to treatment regimens, nutritional imbalances, states of immobility, and stress, all coupled with the natural aging process. Patients with preexisting diabetes may be at further risk for malglycemic states. The growing number of older adults receiving HCT will substantially increase the likelihood nurses will have to provide care to HCT survivors. Therefore, it is important nurses in all practice settings have an understanding of the short- and long-term effects of glycemic status on immune function.
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