Recent advances in technology have paved the way for better diabetes management. Innovations, such as glucose tracking apps, sensors, and fitness bands give people with diabetes more control over their health. But not everyone is benefiting equally – older patients are still excluded due to a lack of evidence-based studies.
Diabetes ranks seventh among the top 10 global causes of death. Up to 90 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, a biological disaster that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, as well as in India, China, and elsewhere. The condition is more prevalent in aging populations, but the extent to which older people are affected is still unclear. Much of the data either omit the elderly or do not separate by age. Without this data, we may not properly understand the needs of older patients, or how to best treat them.
A major challenge when dealing with diabetes in older patients is that many simply don’t know their diabetes status. This is strongly linked to the lack of evidence-based studies. Low awareness among older adults is linked to difficulties in screening, diagnosis, and treatment abilities. As health systems continue to evolve, technological innovations can play a role in improving the quality of life of older people with diabetes, whether they know their status or not. These innovations can prevent potentially severe complications, such as heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness, and amputations, any of which can begin as seemingly harmless symptoms. If designed properly and with inclusivity for older patients in mind, we won’t run the risk of leaving anyone behind.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious global concern. It is paramount that societies raise awareness of diabetes status, collect data for people of ALL ages, and invest in science to reduce the global burden of this epidemic.