Why there is a higher diabetes prevalence in seniors and what to do

9:33 AM, Jan 04, 2019
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Over 25 percent of American adults ages 65 and older have Type 2 diabetes, according to reports by the American Diabetes Association , which means a quarter of aging adults may be impacted by side effects such as reduced functionality, higher mortality and greater risk of requiring long-term assisted living care.

Risk factors for diabetes

Some of the biggest risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are related to age and weight according to WebMD . Being obese greatly increases your chances of developing diabetes at some point in your life. Your risk also goes up the closer you get to 65, after which the incidence rate levels off.

Ethnic background can also affect your chance of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. People of Latin American, African-American, Native American, Asian-American, Pacific Islander or Alaska native descent are more susceptible to the disease.

If you ever had diabetes while you were pregnant (gestational diabetes), have a family history of diabetes, have lived a sedentary lifestyle, have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome or generally exercise fewer than three times a week, you also have a higher chance of developing diabetes.

Why seniors have higher rates of diabetes

While people of all ages may develop Type 2 diabetes, older adults have a higher risk "due to the combined effects of increasing insulin resistance and impaired pancreatic islet function with aging," according to the ADA.

In addition, as many as half of all senior adults may have prediabetes, according to surveys. Prediabetes is indicated when "a person's blood glucose (sugar) level is higher than normal, but not high enough yet for a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes," the ADA said in its prediabetes risk test . "If left untreated, prediabetes can progress into Type 2 diabetes."

Access to cutting-edge diabetes treatments

Clinical trials provide an important benefit to patients as researchers develop new tests, procedures and medications to help detect and treat Type 2 diabetes. Clinical research centers are always in need of volunteers who are interested in testing cutting-edge investigative drugs and devices.

AMCR Institute , a premier clinical research center for diabetes, explained the benefits of volunteering for clinical trials. Benefits include:

  • A full physical exam at no cost
  • Free laboratory work-ups
  • No health insurance needed
  • Potentially free glucose testing supplies and medication provided
  • The possibility of a stipend for time and travel expenses
  • Improved health outcomes because of the attention to your overall health
  • Improved A1c levels from increased attention to blood sugar levels

Recent improvements in diabetes treatments

As clinical trials uncover new information about diabetes and how to treat it, there are more options for patients who are looking to decrease their likelihood of developing diabetes and how to handle it once it has developed.

Adults now have the option of using an insulin inhaler for Type 1 and 2 diabetes. "You use it at the start of your meal for a boost of short-acting insulin," according to WebMD . The device is small and easy to carry in a purse or pocket.

WebMD also described another device now being sold outside the U.S. that's waiting for approval by the Food and Drug Administration: "It's a combined insulin pump and continuous blood sugar monitor — and it's a step on the road toward an artificial pancreas."

Continuous glucose monitors continue to become more sophisticated, as well. They sound alarms when a person's blood glucose gets too low and can reduce the number of finger pricks needed per day.

For more information on how to volunteer for clinical trials involving diabetes, contact AMCR Institute today or call 877-567-2627.

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