Diabetes affects a growing number of people in the world. The fact that this pathology declares itself mainly after the age of 50 led to make the senior an at-risk population. However, there is a significant difference between diabetes types 1 and 2, two forms of this affection, which do not have the same consequences.
Diabetes and risk factors for seniors
Metabolic disease, diabetes is characterized by blood sugar (glucose) in the blood abnormally high. The increase in the volume of sugar is due to the fact that the pancreas no longer produces enough insulin, an important hormone whose role is to regulate the blood glucose level. This condition is progressive, because even in diabetics whose pancreas continues to secrete the necessary hormone, the production tends to decrease gradually.
As is the case for many medical conditions, the physical health of older workers is particularly sensitive to diabetes. The consequences of this disease are to be taken more seriously in the elderly, having regard to their greater fragility and the fact that type 2 diabetes typically begins in the second half of life. Seniors are therefore the most affected : it is estimated that the average age of the diabetic French at age 65.
The difference between diabetes type 1 and 2
The difference between diabetes types 1 and 2 is important, because the consequences of this pathology are far more debilitating on a daily basis in one case as in the other.
The type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes. The pancreas produces too little insulin, or even not at all. It is then necessary to inject the hormone daily. This form of diabetes generally manifests itself at an early age, and affects between 5% and 10% of all diabetics.
The type 2 diabetes is also called diabetes non-insulin-dependent “. The pancreas continues to do his work, but he shows signs of fatigue and no longer produces insulin in sufficient quantity to effectively eliminate the sugar. The physical inactivity and being overweight are in cause most of the time. It concerns 85 to 90 % of all diabetic patients and occurs rather after the age of 50.
The main difference between diabetes types 1 and 2 lies in the ability of the pancreas to secrete insulin. But even if it is not accompanied by a daily need of this hormone, the type 2 diabetes remains a serious disease, not to be overlooked.
The associated pathologies
More fragile, the senior diabetic tends to suffer from pathological multiple associated with lack of insulin, including heart problems, the trio of diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol being unfortunately all too common. Diseases of the vision can also make their appearance, as well as hearing problems. Also, it should be noted that diabetes weakens the body and can lead to the development of diseases of the digestive system, problems bone or joint disorders or diseases of the lungs. Finally, the disorders of incontinence in senior citizens, the cancers of the elderly and problems related to undernutrition of the elderly tend to be aggravated by the diabetes.
The importance of screening
It is estimated that about 600 000 the number of people who, in France, would be diabetic without knowing it. Regardless of the difference between diabetes type 1 and type 2 : this disease, under its two forms, remains the 4th cause of hospitalization and mortality. It is therefore essential to get tested, especially within the at-risk population of seniors. And even more so because the symptoms of diabetes are confused too often with the classic events of aging.