Type 2 Diabetes More Common With Age

By Diane Carbo

Type 2 diabetes is caused by several different factors. It is an inherited disease and in order to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there must be a family history of diabetes the genetic disposition in order to develop the condition. However, not everyone that has a family history of diabetes will have type 2 diabetes, but it does increase the chance of developing the condition.

If the Body Does Not Produce Enough Insulin

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs gradually. When a person eats, the body needs more insulin. Sometimes, the pancreas gradually loses the ability to produce sufficient amounts of insulin causing the body to become insulin resistant. This is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes. Some with type 2 diabetes just do not produce enough insulin.

Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes

The signs and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes begin very gradually and may be missed. These symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow wound healing
  • Blurry vision

Diabetes is Preventable

While genetic predisposition is the strongest factor to consider in the development of Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle choices also affect a person’s chances of having type 2 diabetes as well.

Prior to diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes is a condition known as prediabetes.  Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle seem to play a factor in an individual predisposed to developing Type 2 diabetes. The more a person weighs, the greater his or her chances are of developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin levels of obese individuals tend to be higher, but the body’s insulin cells malfunction and respond slowly resulting in high blood sugar.

Amount of Diabetic Americans Increasing

According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, among U.S. residents ages 65 years and older, 10.9 million, or 26.9 percent, had diabetes in 2010.

In the study done between  2005–2008, based on fasting glucose or A1C levels, 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 20 years or older had prediabetes and 50 percent of those ages 65 years or older had type 2 diabetes. Applying this percentage to the entire U.S. population in 2010 yields an estimated 79 million Americans ages 20 years or older with prediabetes.

Lose Weight, Fight Diabetes

Being aware of the genetics and the hereditary factor as well as lifestyle choices allows any individual to control if they get this condition and how well they can manage it.

As people age they tend to not be as active as they once were. Some continue to eat as much as they did when they were active. These are the factors that are important to manage in order to stop the development of bad habits leading to this disabling condition.

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse reports that a large prevention study, The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), showed that lifestyle intervention programs, among individuals with Type 2 diabetes over the age of 60 years old has positive results over a three year period. The participants lost weight and increased their physical activity and decreased the development of Type 2 diabetes by 71 percent.

Being aware and taking the steps to delay or even prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes will improve the quality of life. Lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet of low glycemic index foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight are steps to a healthier you.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet While Aging

Many seniors find it difficult to continue to prepare the healthy and nutritious meals as they once were able to. Cooking for one or two may not be ab easy adjustment and many seniors tend to replace the nutritious foods for quick and easy meals. Eating three well balance meals a day can help a senior become healthier than they recently have been. Senior Living communities provide those three meals a day and food is usually prepared by the community’s chef. Some also provide diabetic meals for residents with diabetes. To learn more about the type of meals and nutrition that is available at senior living communities, call (877) 345-1706 to speak to a Care Advisor that can tell you about the options in your area.

Diane Carbo is a registered nurse with over 37 years experience. She has worked in a hospital setting as a Charge Nurse and other settings including orthopedics/rehabilitation, home care, discharge planning, case management, oncology, hospice, senior behavioral health, assisted living, and long term care.