How can diabetics manage their blood sugar?

In my role as a nutritionist and dietician, I'm often asked questions about diabetes management, especially in older adults. Due to the age-related changes of physiology, and other complications that can occur in diabetic seniors, blood sugar management is a complex and multifaceted issue. This discussion will explore the importance of controlling blood sugar in diabetic elderly patients, as well as key factors to consider, examples from practice, and other suggestions for effective management.

It is important to manage blood sugar levels in elderly diabetics

It is important to manage blood sugar in diabetics over the age of 60, as this has a significant impact on their health and overall quality of life. Diabetes that is poorly controlled can cause complications like heart disease, kidney failure, vision loss, and nerve damage. Studies have shown that diabetics who are poorly controlled in their blood sugar levels face an increased risk for falls and cognitive decline.

A hyper-aggressive management of blood glucose levels can also be problematic. Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia can cause confusion, instability, and even falls. The balance of the body is important.

Important points to note in management

The management of blood sugar in elderly diabetics can be different from that for younger people. The body's ability to process glucose and insulin is affected by age-related changes such as a slower metabolism, altered composition and reduced kidney function. Polypharmacy and cognitive impairment are also factors that complicate the management of diabetes.

Research suggests that individualized plans of care should be tailored according to a person's personal preferences, health, and life expectancy. American Diabetes Association suggests less strict HbA1c goals for older adults with comorbidities or a limited lifespan.

Considerations to Manage Blood Sugar Levels for Elderly Diabetics

Other Suggestions

Stress management is important, as it can also affect the blood sugar levels. Deep breathing techniques, yoga or meditation are helpful. A good night's sleep is also essential, as insufficient sleep can affect blood sugar control. Regular foot care will help prevent complications from diabetic feet.


In summary, controlling blood sugar in diabetic elderly patients requires a delicate approach and a customized balance. Key considerations include regular monitoring, healthy living, management of medications, prevention and treatment of hypoglycemia as well as education and social support. Stress management, regular sleep, and foot care are all additional strategies that can help manage diabetes.