The ageing process does enough to bring about a sense of bleakness among seniors. Their bodies begin to feel and look older every day, and they start to lose out on a lot of the things they used to love. What many seniors don't realise though, is that they have one of the most important things they need to keep them going in life - their health. Seniors are at a significantly greater risk of getting severe health issues than any other age group. Some common reasons for their increased susceptibility are unhealthy lifestyles, binge eating habits, excess alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Maintaining blood sugar levels for seniors is essential for their well-being. Blood glucose keeps the brain, heart and other organs healthy. Older adults with diabetes are at a greater risk of suffering from various ailments, including heart attack, vision problems and nerve damage.
What are blood sugar levels?
Glycaemia, also known as blood glucose level, blood sugar level, or blood sugar concentration, is the concentration of glucose that someone has in their blood at any given time. Glucose is a type of sugar that circulates in the blood and is used by the body for energy. In humans, blood sugar levels are regulated by the hormone insulin. The body produces insulin in the pancreas, which is released into the bloodstream, where it acts to maintain the proper blood sugar level. An individual needs to keep blood sugar levels within a safe range to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. Having high or low blood sugar levels indicates an underlying health condition that may require medical attention.
Normal blood glucose levels in a healthy person
Blood sugar levels can be measured as either high, low, or normal, depending on how much glucose is in a person's bloodstream. Glucose is a simple sugar that's always present in the bloodstream and can be measured at any time when someone is fasting, or has just eaten (for example, after two hours). Blood glucose levels fluctuate throughout the day as a result of various factors including, medical conditions, age, physical activity, medications, stress, dehydration, menstrual periods, alcohol and the type of food consumed. An ideal blood sugar level for a healthy person, regardless of age, in the morning should be less than 100 mg/dL. A normal blood glucose level range for adults without diabetes who haven't eaten for at least eight hours (fasting) could be anywhere between 80-100 mg/dL. For adults without diabetes, a normal blood glucose level after eating is 90 to 110mg/dL.
Normal blood sugar levels for adults
Blood sugar levels of adults who are 20 years or older range between less than 100-180mg/dL. In the morning, when they wake up, blood sugar is at the lowest because a person has not consumed food. Blood sugar levels outside the range mentioned above are categorized as either high or low blood sugar.
20 plus years of age
Less than 100
1-2 hours after eating
Less than 180
Normal blood sugar levels for seniors (over 60)
Normal blood sugar levels for seniors over 60 are different from those of younger adults. Seniors may face more difficulties in hitting the targets as compared to children or younger adults, but it is doable. Those who face difficulty maintaining healthy blood sugar levels must closely monitor their numbers, their routine, their activities, and what they eat each day.
Fasting Blood Sugar
Bedtime Blood Sugar
Person with no or few chronic health conditions (cognitively functional)
Person with multiple chronic conditions (mild to moderate cognitive impairment)
Person with living in a long-term care facility (moderate to severe cognitive impairment)
Low Blood Sugar in Seniors
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) happens when blood glucose levels fall too low. It happens because of many things, including alcohol, endocrine disorders, eating disorders, two different types of diabetes and disorders of the kidneys, heart or liver. There is a long list of symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might experience, like lightheadedness, dizziness, nervousness, anxiety, chills, sweating, clamminess, pale skin, fainting and tingling. Hypoglycemia, especially in seniors needs to be treated timely. Medical professionals recommend regular checks, otherwise it may cause certain health disorders. In the case of seniors over the age of 60, it is recommended by medical professionals to check blood glucose levels from time to time using a glucose meter or other glucose monitoring devices.
By taking proper medication and following a healthy lifestyle, seniors can treat hypoglycemia effectively. Below-given are some of the tips that can help seniors in coping with the low-blood sugar level problems:
- Follow a healthy diet, full of whole foods that do not take long to process.
- Take medication regularly as per the recommendation of healthcare providers.
- In case of any emergency, use glucagon (a hormone that raises blood sugar levels quickly)
High Blood Sugar levels in Seniors
Hyperglycemia happens when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or doesn’t use insulin correctly. It may occur due to multiple reasons like stress, illness, the dawn phenomenon, Type 1 diabetes, Types 2 diabetes, among others. The most common symptoms of hyperglycemia are fatigue, frequent urination, headaches, blurred vision, increased thirst weight loss and difficulty concentrating. If not treated on time, high glucose levels may cause eye, kidney, nerve and heart problems.
The good news is that high blood levels can be controlled with the help of proper medication and a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the tips:
- Eat low sugar foods that are minimally processed.
- Do not exercise if ketones are present in the bloodstream. Use a blood glucose meter to keep ketones in check.
- Drink lots of water.
- Take proper medication as per the recommendations of our healthcare provider.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q1. What are normal blood sugar levels by age?
Ans. Normal blood sugar levels chart
10 years and over
Q2. Is blood sugar of 135 high?
Ans. Normal blood sugar levels differ from person to person, but a normal range for fasting blood sugar levels is between 70 to 100 mg/dL. Generally, the level of glucose in the blood rises after meals and reached between 135 and 140 milligrams per deciliter. Both before and after meals, these variations in blood-sugar levels are normal. It reflects the way that glucose is absorbed and stored in the body. If your blood sugar level is 135 in the morning before eating anything, you must consult a healthcare professional.
Q3. Is 180 sugar level normal?
Ans. No, it is not. Above 180, all levels are considered dangerous blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar level has reached 180md/dL you should immediately consult a doctor and take proper medication.
Q4. Why it is important to monitor sugar levels regularly?
Ans. Sugar is an essential nutrient that provides fuel for the body. But when the body is exposed to too much sugar or takes a low amount of sugar, a number of complications can occur, ranging from weight gain and diabetes to heart disease and cancer. For this reason, it is important to monitor sugar levels regularly.
Q5. What is pre-diabetes?
Ans. The normal blood sugar levels in healthy people are between 90 and 110 milligrams per deciliter (value may change according to the age of the person). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), blood sugar levels between 110 and 125 mg/dL are indicators of pre-diabetes, while levels above 125 mg/dL are related to diabetes.
Q6. What causes diabetes?
Ans. Diabetes is a very common disease in which the body cannot produce or use the hormone insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use or store sugar (glucose) properly. Without enough insulin, the sugar can't get into the body's cells, where it can be used for energy. Instead, the sugar stays in the blood. This can lead to serious health issues, such as heart disease, poor vision, nerve damage, and even death. In most cases, diabetes develops slowly over time.
Q7. What are the different types of diabetes?
Ans. There are two types of diabetes that are commonly found in humans: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is more common among people who are older, overweight, or who have a family history of diabetes. It accounts for around 90% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. It can be more commonly found among certain ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that usually develops in children or young adults and is caused by a combination of environmental factors and genetic.