Why does the incidence of diabetes mellitus increase with age

Why does the incidence of diabetes mellitus increase with age

Did you really know that the incidence of diabetes mellitus increases with age? Yes, that has been proven statistically and there definitely should be a reason for such correlation.

Diabetes can strike anyone at any age, but maintaining type 2 diabetes becomes more difficult as you age. Diabetes risk rises with age, making diabetes more common among the elderly.

In 2019, about 15.9 million people aged 65 and above had diabetes in the United States of America. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes among older people. Your symptoms may alter dramatically as you get older. Some diabetes symptoms can be hidden by age.

In this article, we will explain why the incidence of diabetes mellitus increases with age.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes, is a metabolic condition characterized by an excess of sugar in the blood (high blood glucose). Your pancreas receives a signal to release insulin when your blood sugar levels rise. Insulin permits blood sugar to enter cells and be used as energy.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it means your body isn’t producing enough insulin or using it to its full potential. When you don’t have enough insulin, blood sugar builds up in your bloodstream, causing major health issues like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney damage.

Although there is no cure for diabetes, decreasing weight, eating healthy foods, and staying active can help control the disease.

Types of diabetes

Let’s take a look at the types of diabetes in this part of the article.

Type 1 diabetes

This is a type of diabetes that requires daily insulin injections. Insufficient insulin synthesis in the body causes this condition. Too much urine excretion, thirst, persistent hunger, weight loss, visual problems, and weariness are all symptoms of this kind of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

The body’s insufficient usage of insulin causes this kind of diabetes. This kind of diabetes can lead to excess body weight (obesity) and physical inactivity.

Gestational diabetes

Diabetes that develops during pregnancy and normally goes away after the baby is born. It can occur at any time throughout pregnancy, although it is more frequent in the second and third trimesters.

Complications during pregnancy and delivery are more likely in pregnant women or women with gestational diabetes. These mothers, as well as their children, are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.


A condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated but not to the level of type 2 diabetes. Without treatment, type 2 diabetes is likely to develop within ten years. Prediabetes affects many persons who have no symptoms. It is not always necessary to progress from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar levels can be brought back to normal by lifestyle modifications, weight loss, and medication.

Why does the incidence of diabetes mellitus increases with age?

Age, being overweight and having a family history of diabetes are all major risk factors for diabetes.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes rises with age. One explanation for this is that as people become older, their insulin resistance increases.

Diminished muscle mass (sarcopenia), obesity, and reduced physical activity are all factors that contribute to insulin resistance in the elderly. Furthermore, the pancreas does not work as well as it does in younger people.

Your symptoms may alter dramatically as you get older. Some diabetes symptoms can be hidden by age.

For example, if your blood glucose levels were too high, you might have felt thirsty. When your blood sugar levels are too high, you may lose your sense of thirst as you age. You might not notice a difference at all.

Also, you are more prone to develop several medical disorders as you become older, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This may make it more difficult for you to manage your diabetes.

Because they are more feeble and sensitive to sickness, older adults with diabetes are more likely to develop complications, which can be more difficult to treat.

Furthermore, because older people are less mobile and energetic, it may be more difficult for them to adopt healthy lifestyle practices to assist in managing their diabetes. Other medical issues, such as arthritis, can also limit an older person’s ability to prepare healthful meals or engage in physical activity.

Diabetes can then progress to additional health issues like heart disease. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, older adults with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke than younger diabetics.

You can manage your risk of cardiovascular disease by controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol in a variety of ways. Exercise, dietary modifications, and medications, for example, can all assist.

What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes in the elderly?

One of the most important issues for older people with diabetes is that the symptoms may not always be visible. Age-related changes can disguise or make diabetes symptoms more difficult to detect. Mild to moderately elevated blood sugar levels may not create symptoms in any circumstance.

The well-known symptoms of diabetes, such as passing more urine and feeling extremely thirsty, are less noticeable in older individuals than they are in young people and mainly appear when blood sugar levels are quite high.

Other signs of type 2 diabetes, such as fatigue and lethargy, or weight gain, are sometimes misconstrued as part of the natural aging process. As a result, older adults with type 2 diabetes may go untreated for years, causing irreversible harm.

How older people can manage diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes are cared for by a variety of healthcare specialists, but you are the most important member of your health care team.

Some of the disease’s risk factors are beyond your control. If your mother had gestational diabetes while pregnant, if diabetes runs in your family, and if you’re African American, Asian American, Native American, or Latino, these are all factors to consider.

However, there are several healthy practices that, when followed, can help to avoid diabetes, manage it, and even reverse it. Some of these healthy habits include:

  • Keep a close eye on your nutrition and make healthy choices like eating less saturated fat and more complex carbohydrate-rich meals like fruit, vegetables, brown rice, oats, and legumes.
  • Follow your doctor’s directions for taking your medication.
  • If you smoke, please stop.
  • Reduce your weight, particularly if you have a lot of abdominal fat.
  • Learn how to manage your diabetes with the help of your doctor and other healthcare experts, such as diabetes educators.


The incidence of diabetes mellitus increases with age and one explanation for this is that as people become older, their insulin resistance increases. Furthermore, the pancreas does not work as well as it does in younger people.

But have no fear. You can help manage your diabetes by following some healthy lifestyle practices. Some of these suggestions are listed above.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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