New Study Shows Older Diabetics Are Less Aware of Hypoglycemic Symptoms as Reported by DiabeticLive.com
A recent study conducted on older (age 65 and over) individuals with Type 2 diabetes found that they demonstrated less awareness of hypoglycemic (low blood glucose) episodes than middle-aged (age 39-64) diabetics as reported by DiabeticLive.com.
Tampa, FL (PRWEB) September 26, 2011
New Study Shows Older Diabetics Are Less Aware of Hypoglycemic Symptoms: A recent study conducted on older (age 65 and over) individuals with Type 2 diabetes found that they demonstrated less awareness of hypoglycemic (low blood glucose) episodes than middle-aged (age 39-64) diabetics. The exact reason for the reduced awareness was unknown, but researchers hypothesized that hypoglycemia could cause increased impairment of cognitive and physiological alterations in older individuals.
The study’s objective was to analyze the subjective responses of older Type 2 diabetics to hypoglycemic episodes — in other words, how the patients themselves perceived their own episodes. It has been previously shown that elderly diabetics are at an increased risk of severe hypoglycemic episodes but their perceptions of their own episodes had not been previously studied. The researchers noted that hypoglycemia is the primary limiting factor in diabetes management and that management of such episodes is an important facet of effective overall management of the disease.
The study included 13 older patients (age 65 and older) and 13 middle-aged patients (age 39-64). All patients had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, while none of the patients displayed a history of stroke or symptoms of heart disease, overt nephropathy, or neuropathy. Additionally, none of the patients had experienced a severe hypoglycemic episode requiring the help of another individual within the year prior to the study.
Upon arriving at the test facility, patients were administered insulin and dextrose intravenously. They filled out semi-quantitative questionnaires which inquired whether they were experiencing eleven symptoms of low blood sugar, including dizziness, blurred vision, tingling, faintness, and difficulty concentrating. Once they completed the questionnaire, patients were asked to estimate their own blood sugar levels.
To determine whether the patients experienced a decrease in cognitive function during a hypoglycemic episode, researchers tested their reaction times both before and during the episode using a standard vigilance task which required the participants to identify alterations in the frequency of a sound.
Upon the conclusion of the study, the researchers discovered that while baseline blood glucose levels were not significantly different between the two age groups, the middle-aged group reached a hypoglycemic plateau faster than the older group did. The older patients failed to identify certain neuroglycopenic and autonomic hypoglycemic conditions symptoms that the middle-aged patients identified successfully.
The researchers could not definitively pinpoint the reason behind the older patients’ impairment in identifying hypoglycemic symptoms, stating that Ã¢Å“the mechanisms underlying the severe impairment of hypoglycemia awareness in our older patients cannot be derived from our data.Ã¢ However, they hypothesized that older patients are more severely affected by hypoglycemic episodes that impair the cognitive processes responsible for detecting changes in physiological symptoms.
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebDiabetes/Hypoglycemic/prweb8824989.htm