Blood sugar level in the elderly: norms and pathologies

Normal blood sugar levels for the elderly may be slightly higher than those of middle-aged individuals. On an empty stomach, it should not exceed 140 mg/dl, while 180 mg/dl is acceptable after a meal. What does it have to do with anything? What is the normal blood glucose level for a 70-year-old or a slightly younger senior?

Blood sugar levels in the elderly – normal

After age 60, the blood sugar level in the elderly should be between 70 and 99 mg/dl on an empty stomach. The normal upper limit after a meal should not exceed 160–180 mg/dL. In older individuals, the range may be expanded. This indicates that the normal limits are slightly different for older patients (140 mg/dl after a meal) than for younger patients. Why?

Specialists estimate that up to 30% of individuals develop blood sugar disorders after the age of 65. This is due to the body’s natural aging processes, increased tissue resistance to insulin, and diminished insulin secretion. In addition, the elderly are frequently ill, suffer from heart attacks and strokes, and are frequently prescribed medication for chronic diseases. These can also impact glucose levels.

Too high blood sugar in the elderly

The optimal level of sugar in a 65-year-old, a slightly younger and older senior, as well as a child or a person of middle age, is associated with health. Extremely high blood sugar levels are associated with a variety of disturbing and unpleasant symptoms.

Diabetes in older people may present differently than in younger people, which often delays proper diagnosis. However, typical symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • drowsiness _
  • increased thirst
  • dry mouth ,
  • more frequent urination ,
  • sour-smelling breath
  • headache,
  • recurrent infections (mainly of the urinary tract), fungal infections,
  • nausea, vomiting ,
  • memory deterioration ,
  • deterioration of well-being ,
  • sight problems,
  • sleep disorders .

When is abnormal blood sugar in the elderly dangerous?

Long-term hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia can result in a diabetic coma, which poses an immediate threat to life. What level of sugar is life-threatening? A rise above 400 mg/dL and a drop below 20 mg/dL for glucose.

Sustained too low or too high sugar levels for a long time can lead to a diabetic coma , which is a direct threat to life. What level of sugar is dangerous to life? A rise above 400 mg/dL (and a drop in glucose to below 20 mg/dL).

Too low blood sugar in the elderly

Too low blood sugar, i.e. hypoglycemia , is also unfavorable . Its symptoms are:

  • weariness,
  • feeling confused
  • difficulty concentrating ,
  • heavy sweating ,
  • dizziness ,
  • strong feeling of hunger,
  • headaches ,
  • pallor of the skin ,
  • limb tremors,
  • sudden mood swings.

How to treat abnormal blood sugar levels in the elderly?

Almost one in two seniors have abnormal glucose levels. Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, the body’s natural blood sugar regulator.

There are two main types of diabetes:

  • type I diabetes (insulin-dependent) – diagnosed mainly in children and young people,
  • Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in the elderly. In her case, high blood sugar is not due to a lack of insulin, but to its improper action.

The prevalence of diabetes in people over the age of 65 reaches 40%, and the peak incidence of type 2 occurs around the age of 60. There are several risk factors that favor the development of diabetes. This:

  • overweight or obese ,
  • hypertension and other diseases of the cardiovascular system,
  • high cholesterol ,
  • lack of physical activity,
  • inadequate diet,
  • diabetes in the immediate family.

Controlling glucose levels and managing diabetes are crucial. Ischemic disease of the lower limbs, stroke, kidney damage, retinopathy, nerve damage, ketoacidosis, and even coma can result from a disease that is undertreated and untreated.

In the treatment of the disease, pharmacotherapy, but also a proper diet and daily physical activity are of great importance. Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels with a glucometer is extremely important . Recommendations for seniors on how to manage diabetes are the same as for all diabetics.

When should diabetes patients over the age of 60 be concerned about their sugar levels? The norms, i.e. the range of normal sugar levels in a 60-year-old, as well as a slightly younger and older person, are set individually by a physician, and a sugar level greater than 180 or 200 mg/dl may indicate hyperglycemia.



3rd Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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