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Blood sugar levels in the elderly

Blood sugar levels in the elderly

Blood glucose, or blood sugar, is an important rate to monitor in seniors’ health. Age, chronic diseases, hormonal changes and other factors can cause blood sugar imbalances in seniors, which can lead to serious health complications. In this article, we explore the causes of blood sugar fluctuations in people over 50. We will also discuss the steps they can take to control it.

Causes of blood glucose variation in older adults.


According to a study published in the journal “Aging Clinical and Experimental Research” (2017), senior citizens are more prone to blood sugar problems, due to age. 

With age, the body can become less able to control blood sugar levels, which can lead to blood sugar imbalances.

This can be due to a number of age-related factors, such as loss of insulin sensitivity, reduced insulin production and a slowing of the rate at which the body uses glucose. As a result, older people may suffer from more frequent blood sugar imbalances than younger people.

Seniors really need to take these age-related factors into account to prevent blood sugar problems. They can monitor their blood sugar levels by taking regular blood tests and eating a healthy, balanced diet. In addition, regular exercise can help keep blood glucose levels in line by increasing insulin sensitivity and improving the body’s overall use of glucose. 

Chronic diseases

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that can affect blood sugar levels and lead to blood glucose imbalances. Metabolic syndrome is characterised by a combination of risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure and high blood lipid levels, which increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Heart disease can also affect blood sugar levels and lead to blood sugar imbalances. According to a study published in the journal “Diabetes Care” (2015), people with heart disease have an increased risk of developing blood sugar imbalances. Senior citizens with heart disease should work with their doctor to monitor their blood glucose levels and adopt a healthy lifestyle to minimise the risk of blood glucose imbalances.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes associated with menopause can affect blood sugar levels in women over 50. A study published in the journal “Menopause” (2019) found that postmenopausal women are more vulnerable to blood sugar problems.

Hormones such as insulin, cortisol and glucagon play an important part in regulating blood sugar levels. Hormonal changes that occur with age can lead to reduced insulin production and increased cortisol levels, which can disrupt blood sugar levels.

Chronic diseases such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome can also cause hormonal imbalances, which can lead to more severe blood sugar imbalances. As women age, they should consult their doctor to discuss how to control hormonal imbalances. In this way, they also minimise the risk of blood sugar imbalances.

What steps should the elderly take to control their blood glucose levels?

Monitor blood glucose levels

Monitoring blood glucose levels is important for seniors to maintain good health and prevent complications associated with high or low blood sugar levels. Here are some tips for monitoring blood glucose levels in seniors:

Test blood glucose regularly.

Seniors can test their blood glucose levels at home using a portable blood glucose meter and test strips. Seniors can discuss with their doctor the recommended frequency of blood glucose testing based on their health and individual needs.

See a doctor

Seniors should see a doctor regularly to discuss their health and blood glucose levels. The doctor can help assess potential causes of blood glucose imbalances and develop a treatment plan if necessary.

Eat a healthy diet

Eating a healthy diet is a pivotal part of maintaining stable blood glucose levels in older adults. Here are some tips for adopting a healthy diet to control blood glucose levels:

Eat fibre-rich foods

Fibre-rich foods can help control blood sugar levels by providing a balanced food source for the body. Fibre-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Avoid foods high in sugar

It goes without saying, foods high in sugar can raise blood sugar levels quickly. People over 50 should therefore limit their sugar intake and avoid sugary drinks, sweets and processed foods.

Eat several small meals throughout the day.

Instead of eating two or three large meals a day, seniors can opt for several small meals spread throughout the day. This can help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Include protein-rich foods

Protein-rich foods can help control blood sugar levels by providing a stable food source for the body. Protein-rich foods include meats, poultry, fish, dairy products and legumes.

Some healthy recipe ideas for controlling blood sugar levels.

Quinoa and vegetable salad: 

Try your hand at a quinoa salad with cherry tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber and feta cheese. This mixed salad is rich in fibre, protein and vitamins, making it a healthy choice for controlling blood sugar levels.

Lentil Soup

A soup made with lentils, vegetables and herbs is rich in fibre, protein and minerals. Again, this is a good solution to control blood sugar levels.

Spinach and mushroom omelette

Try adding spinach, mushrooms and shallots to your egg omelette. This will turn your naturally rich in protein omelette into a more complete dish, an ideal and healthy option to control blood sugar levels.

Exercise regularly

In addition, exercise can help stabilise blood sugar levels in seniors. Regular physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity and help control blood sugar levels. Depending on your age and exercising habit, you can choose a physical activity that suits your body, such as walking, swimming or yoga. 

Here are some tips for seniors to exercise regularly:

Start slowly: 

After age 50, you can start slowly with gentle activities, such as walking, swimming or yoga. You can then increase the intensity and duration of exercise over time.

Set a schedule

Don’t be afraid to set a regular schedule for exercise, such as going for a walk every morning or doing yoga every night.

Exercise with a friend

Regardless of age, you can exercise with a friend or family member to motivate each other.

Find an activity you enjoy

Seniors can find an activity they enjoy, such as dancing or gardening, to encourage them to exercise regularly.

Follow your doctor’s advice

Make it a point to follow your doctor’s advice about exercise, especially if you are not used to it.

It is important to remember that exercise should be progressive for seniors. They should not embark on an intense exercise programme without consulting their doctor. In addition, seniors can also attend group classes led by a qualified instructor to ensure that they do the exercises safely.

In conclusion, blood sugar is an important issue for seniors. Seniors can keep their blood sugar levels in check by eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising regularly and testing their blood sugar regularly. By taking steps to control blood sugar, seniors can improve their overall health and reduce the risk of complications from diabetes and other health problems.

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