The incidence of diabetes and prediabetes continues to rise in the U.S., and it’s hitting the older population particularly hard. More than one in four of those aged 65 or above have diabetes, and more than half have prediabetes, thus are at increased risk of developing diabetes and other health problems.
Many cases of diabetes in the over-65 population are undiagnosed, which means that many people are not getting the care and medical advice they need to help prevent serious health consequences. Moreover, once doctors have diagnosed diabetes, existing health problems in these patients make management especially difficult.
Avoiding episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels), hypotension (low blood pressure), and drug interactions—given that many patients are taking other prescription drugs—make adjusting medications and dosages especially difficult.
Why are diabetes and prediabetes so common among older people?
Key risk factors for both conditions include overweight or obesity, and lack of physical activity. Both factors become more common as people age.
And why are many cases undiagnosed? The well-known symptoms of diabetes, such as frequent urination, excessive thirst, and feeling tired or lethargic, are not always obvious in older people. If noticed, they may be dismissed as just a part of the aging process.
Statistics in this blog are from http://templatelab.com/national-diabetes-report-2014/