New study reveals that elderly diabetes management may be detrimental to Type 2 diabetic over the age of 65 years of age.
Published in JAMA , January 2015 edition, Potential Overtreatment of Diabetes Mellitus in Older Adults With Tight Glycemic Control researchers at the Department of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology Section, at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut reported that the elderly are being negatively affected by the goal to reach a hemoglobin A1c at or below 7.
Research studies, for over the past decade, have shown that maintaining a blood level of the HA1c at or below 7 reduced the complications of diabetes, such as: blindness, poor circulation, nerve and kidney damage. The result of these findings has had doctors, their professional organizations and pharmaceutical companies consistently promoting the importance of getting and maintaining the HA1c levels at 7 or below. The problem with this philosophy is that while the studies have shown that this is a good of those with Type 1 Diabetes and younger Type 2 diabetics, it does not hold true for the elderly over 65 years of age.
In fact, many doctors were rewarded for getting their patients to that level. Herein lies the problem. The diabetes pharmaceutical industry has a vested interest in selling as many diabetes drugs as possible. They continue to promote and reward doctors that help patients to lower their HA1c to level of 7 and below. This is resulting in the over treatment of diabetes in those over 65 years of age.
In fact, targeting those low levels of HA1c as part of elderly diabetes management may prove deadly. One trial study of those age 65 years old and older with Type 2 diabetes has to be stopped because those reaching HA1c levels below 7 were experiencing higher death rates than those that in the study that were targeting a HA1c level of 7.
The elderly are extremely susceptible to hypoglycemia. As we age, the kidneys function less efficiently, which can allow the medications such as insulin and hypoglycemics building up in the body, and resulting in a major drop in blood sugars. As we get older, there are fewer early warning signs that indicate that blood sugars level are dangerously low, until it is too late to react.
Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar results may include: confusion, falls, heart arrhythmias, dizziness, slurred speech and even death. Here is a a checklist of Low Blood Sugars signs and symptoms.
The most lesson to be learned from this information is the importance of working with your doctor, as a partner in health care decisions. Your doctor should make you aware of all the options and risks with your present treatment plan. Together, you and your doctor you may understand and weigh the risks and make an educated decision on your treatment.
Check here to see if your doctor is taking money from drug companies. It can make a difference in your doctors decisions on how to treat you.