New Diabetes Guidelines for Patients 65 & Older

By Gretchen Bolander

Published 08/08 2013 06:14PM

Updated 08/08 2013 06:18PM

More than one in four older Americans has diabetes, leading to a higher risk for amputation, heart attack and renal failure. But now the guidelines have changed in dealing with the disease in those 65 and older.

"By allowing them to run a little bit higher, what we're trying to rule out, trying to prevent is low blood sugar and low blood sugar." According to Freeman Diabetes Educator Susan Pittman, you normally want your blood sugar levels to stay below a 7. Now the experts are loosening the guidelines for older patients. "Let them run between 7 and 7.5% and then and anyone who's 65 and older and has another chronic illness or other health condition going on, they're allowing them to run at an 8."

The goal is to focus on low blood sugar and that impact on your health. "Problems that can happen quickly such as if someone has low blood sugar and loses their balance, they could fall and break a limb. Or if they were driving a car and had low blood sugar, they could have a wreck."

The guidelines shifted last year in an attempt to reduce diabetes related risks to older patients. "The patient that has other health conditions may not recognize that low blood sugar as quickly, they may attribute it to another condition that's going on and not treat that blood sugar as fast. Or they may be desensitized to the low blood sugar and not realize they're low until they're extremely low."

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