About 6% of the world’s population suffers from type 2 diabetes. Therefore, people of any age can develop the disease, but the number of older adults is increasing rapidly around the world. In fact, adults over 65 account for nearly half of all adult cases.
There are many ways to control diabetes, but many people may not realize that type 2 diabetes in older adults can be more complicated to control. This means that people over 65 need to be treated differently.
There are several reasons why type 2 diabetes may be more difficult to control in older adults. First, aging can affect blood sugar control, as the body’s organs (such as the pancreas, which control insulin and sugar levels) lose their ability to function as well as before.
Also, some research has shown that diabetes can make people age faster. This premature aging can lead to illnesses associated with age-related decline (such as arthritis or dementia) occurring earlier.
Frailty – a health condition associated with reduced physical and mental resilience in older adults – affects more people with type 2 diabetes than the rest of the population. As a result, about 25% of older adults are also frail. Frail people with type 2 diabetes have health problems and a higher risk of death from all causes compared to those who are not frail.
It is worth remembering that frailty is associated with reduced physical and cognitive functions and an increased risk of low blood sugar. Both factors can make treating type 2 diabetes more complicated.
Dementia, which is more common in older adults, can also make type 2 diabetes difficult to control. This is because memory problems can make it harder for patients to remember to take their medications or take the proper dosage.
Type 2 diabetes in older adults is a risk factor for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Although the link between the two is not fully understood, high blood sugar levels and insulin that doesn’t work properly have been suggested as causes.
In addition, having other health problems can also make treating diabetes more difficult. Up to 40% of older adults with type 2 diabetes have four or more coexisting illnesses, such as heart disease or dementia.
These conditions can make it impossible to achieve normal treatment goals, and the medications used to treat them may interact with those used to treat diabetes. Furthermore, poor access to adequate medical care and being more susceptible to low blood sugar levels in old age are also reasons why treating diabetes can be so difficult in this age group.
Source: Medical Xpress
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