Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes in Older People – It is generally thought that the majority of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. In fact only 85 to 90% are, and the people in the remaining 10 to 15% vary in age. Type 2 is common in the older age group, people age 65 and over, and it is in this group where there is a reasonable variation in body weight.
Type 2 diabetes affects up to 20% of people over 65 years and it is expected another 20% are undiagnosed. There are several reasons why the incidence of diabetes is high in this particular age group:
the main cause appears to be insulin resistance which just occurs with aging.
this can occur whether the elderly person leads an active or sedentary lifestyle
it is not really understood why it occurs later in life especially when the pancreas appears to make insulin at the usual rate
the pancreas may just wear out with time and find it really hard to do what it was designed to do. This can happen through no fault of the diabetic
It is not unusual for older people with diabetes to:
not complain of any symptoms
not notice the usual symptoms associated with type 2
complain of loss of appetite which, of course, leads to weight loss rather than the usual obesity associated with type 2
have incontinence of urine which is often thought to occur due to prostate issues in the elderly male or urinary tract infections in the older female
not complain about being thirsty as your ability to feel thirst could be altered
Changes that occur due to your body adapting to the aging process can mean that some symptoms will be harder to spot. If you are aware of any family members having type 2 diabetes or you already have:
high blood pressure
high triglyceride levels
low HDL (good) cholesterol levels
tingling in your hands or feet
skin injuries that take a long time to heal
don’t hesitate to ask your health care provider to check your urine for sugar and to order a test of your fasting blood sugar levels.
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of suffering and premature death. This condition is treatable and complications can be reduced or avoided.