Aging Well: Keeping Blood Sugar Low May Protect Memory
There's a growing body of evidence linking elevated blood sugar to memory problems. For instance, earlier this year, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that higher glucose may be a risk factor for dementia, even among people without type 2 diabetes. So the question is, at what point does the risk of cognitive decline set in? Or in other words, should we be aware of creeping blood sugar, even before it gets to levels that doctors call pre-diabetes? Well, researchers, writing this week in the journal Neurology, have some new data that suggest that even modest increases in blood sugar among people in their 50s, 60s and 70s can have a negative influence on memory. The study included 141 healthy older people, all of whom had blood sugar in the normal range. All of the participants were given recall tests where they were read a list of 15 words and then asked to repeat back as many as they could remember. The researchers found that if a person's hemoglobin A1C (the AIC test is a common blood test that reflects a person's average blood sugar level over a two-to-three month period) went from 5 percent, which is in the normal range, up to 5.6 percent, which is edging closer to what doctors classify as pre-diabetes, this was associated with recalling fewer words. This association suggests the effect isn't huge. But researchers says it's significant. So, what's actually happening in the brain when blood sugar levels are chronically elevated? Study author Agnes Floel of Charite University Medicine in Berlin says there may be a couple of things at play. It's possible that blood vessel effects can damage memory. "Elevated blood sugar levels damage small and large vessels in the brain, leading to decreased blood and nutrient flow to brain cells," explai Continue reading >>
How Does Diabetes Affect Women Over The Age Of 40?
Diabetes affects how your body processes glucose, which is a type of sugar. Glucose is important for your overall health. It serves as a source of energy for your brain, muscles, and other tissue cells. Without the right amount of glucose, your body has trouble functioning properly. Two types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes Five percent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body can’t produce insulin. With proper treatment and lifestyle choices, you can still lead a healthy life. Doctors usually diagnose type 1 diabetes in people who are younger than 40. The majority of people who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes. Your risk of developing it increases as you age, especially after age 45. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body is insulin resistant. This means it doesn’t use insulin efficiently. Over time, your body can’t produce enough insulin to maintain consistent blood glucose levels. A number of factors can contribute to type 2 diabetes, including: genetics poor lifestyle habits excess weight high blood pressure Diabetes affects men and women in different ways. Women with diabetes are at higher risk of: heart disease, which is the most common complication of diabetes blindness depression If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you can take steps to manage your blood sugar and lower your risk of complications. This can include eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and following your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan. The symptoms typically develop more slowly in type 2 diabetes than type 1 diabetes. Watch out for the following symptoms: fatigue extreme thirst increased urination blu Continue reading >>
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No matter what we're doing, even during sleep, our brains depend on glucose to function. Glucose is a sugar that comes from food, and it's also formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the body's cells and is carried to them through the bloodstream. When blood glucose levels (also called blood sugar levels) drop too low, it's called hypoglycemia. Very low blood sugar levels can cause severe symptoms that need immediate medical treatment. Blood sugar levels in someone with diabetes are considered low when they fall below the target range. A blood sugar level slightly lower than the target range might not cause symptoms, but repeated low levels could require a change in the treatment plan to help avoid problems. The diabetes health care team will find a child's target blood sugar levels based on things like the child's age, ability to recognize hypoglycemia symptoms, and the goals of the diabetes treatment plan. Low blood sugar levels are fairly common in people with diabetes. A major goal of diabetes care is to keep blood sugar levels from getting or staying too high to prevent both short- and long-term health problems. To do this, people with diabetes may use insulin and/or pills, depending on the type of diabetes they have. These medicines usually help keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range, but in certain situations, might make them drop too low. Hypoglycemia can happen at any time in people taking blood sugar-lowering medicines, but is more likely if someone: skips or delays meals or snacks or doesn't eat as much carbohydrate-containing food as expected when taking the diabetes medicine. This is common in kids who develop an illness (such as a stomach virus) that causes loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting. takes too much insulin, ta Continue reading >>
What Are The Ideal Levels Of Blood Sugar?
A blood sugar or blood glucose chart identifies ideal blood sugar levels throughout the day, including before and after meals. Doctors use blood sugar charts to set target goals and monitor diabetes treatment plans. Blood sugar charts also help those with diabetes assess and self-monitor blood sugar test results. What is a blood sugar chart? Blood sugar charts act as a reference guide for blood sugar test results. As such, blood sugar charts are important tools for diabetes management. Most diabetes treatment plans involve keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal or target goals as possible. This requires frequent at-home and doctor-ordered testing, along with an understanding of how results compare to target levels. To help interpret and assess blood sugar results, the charts outline normal and abnormal blood sugar levels for those with and without diabetes. In the United States, blood sugar charts typically report sugar levels in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). In the United Kingdom and many other countries, blood sugar is reported in millimoles per liter (mmol/L). A1C blood sugar recommendations are frequently included in blood sugar charts. A1C results are often described as both a percentage and an average blood sugar level in mg/dL. An A1C test measures the average sugar levels over a 3-month period, which gives a wider insight into a person's overall management of their blood sugar levels. Blood sugar chart guidelines Appropriate blood sugar levels vary throughout the day and from person to person. Blood sugars are often lowest before breakfast and in the lead up to meals. Blood sugars are often highest in the hours following meals. People with diabetes will often have higher blood sugar targets or acceptable ranges than those without the condition. These Continue reading >>
How Will Age-related Hormone Changes Affect You?
If you have diabetes, you know lots of things -- from eating too much, to missing a snack, to plain old stress -- can affect your blood sugar. But did you know just getting older could make it harder to control? There’s a lot going on in your body as you age. If you become more of a couch potato as you get up in years, you may gain weight. This lack of exercise and the extra pounds can send your blood sugar levels too high. And as you age, your body doesn’t use the insulin it makes as well as it did when you were younger. Your body also starts making less of some hormones, including the human growth hormone. Women will create less estrogen and progesterone, and men often produce less of the sex hormone testosterone. And as you get older, you may be more prone to illness and infections that can spike your blood sugar. Don’t worry too much, though. Middle age doesn’t mean you have to make dramatic changes to control your diabetes. It’s just good to be aware of things that might pop up. The Outlook for Women As women get older, hormone changes before and during menopause often cause hot flashes, irritability, and trouble sleeping. Not only do these drops or spikes in the hormones impact your mood and life, but they can also affect your blood sugar. These ups and downs mean may mean you have to test your levels and make adjustments more often. If you have type 1 diabetes, you may notice low blood sugar levels more often as you get closer to menopause. This can be a sign that your hormones are going down and you may need more insulin. It’s important to know the difference between low blood sugar and moodiness or other perimenopause symptoms. You may reach menopause early if you have type 1 diabetes, but if you’re overweight and have type 2, your changes could s Continue reading >>
High Blood Sugar 'speeds Up Ageing'
People whose blood sugar levels are higher than average look older than those with low levels, experts said. Blood sugar, which can rise as a result of an unhealthy diet or lack of exercise, was already known to cause ill health but the study is believed to be the first to link high levels to appearance. Researchers found that every additional millimole per litre increase in blood sugar, which in healthy people is usually between five and six mmol/l, adds five months of ageing to their facial features. They measured the blood sugar of 602 people, while a group of 60 independent assessors studied two photographs of their faces to come up with a "perceived age" score. Healthy people with low blood sugar typically looked a year younger than those with high readings, and a year-and-a-half younger than diabetics, the study published in the Age journal found. Related Articles Cancer risk with blood sugar 03 Jan 2010 The sugar rush to diabetes 13 Jun 2011 The ageing could be caused by a build-up of sugar which sticks to collagen – a protein in the skin which keeps it supple – and is difficult for the body to remove. Alternatively, the glucose could hamper insulin production which is believed to play a central role in ageing, researchers said. David Gunn, who led the Unilever study, said: "The higher glucose people had, they started looking older. Diabetics looked older again, and they have had the worst exposure to high glucose levels. "This adds extra evidence that there is another reason to have a healthy lifestyle – because it is going to affect your appearance as well as your health." Diana van Heemst, of Leiden University in the Netherlands, who contributed to the paper, said: “The results from this study further underscore how important regulation of blood glucos Continue reading >>
Diabetes: Blood Sugar Readings
www.CardioSmart.org What is a blood sugar reading? A blood sugar reading shows how much sugar, or glucose, is in your blood. A test of your blood sugar may be done to: â€¢ Check for diabetes. â€¢ See how well diabetes treatment is working. â€¢ Check for diabetes that occurs during pregnancy (gestational diabetes). â€¢ Check for low or high blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia). What are normal blood sugar readings? There are several types of blood sugar tests. Normal results can vary from lab to lab. Talk with your doctor about what any abnormal results might mean, and about any symptoms and other health problems you have. Normal values for adults who do NOT have prediabetes or diabetes Less than or equal to 100 When you have not eaten (fasting blood sugar): Less than 140 if you are age 50 or younger; less than 150 if you are age 50 to 60; less than 160 if you are age 60 and older 2 hours after eating (postprandial): Levels vary depending on when and how much you ate at your last meal. In general: 80 to 120 beforemeals or when waking up; 100 to 140 at bedtime. Random (casual): Target values for nonpregnant adults who have prediabetes or diabetes 80 to 130When you have not eaten (fasting blood sugar): Less than 1802 hours after eating (postprandial): What causes abnormal blood sugar? High blood sugar can be caused by: â€¢ Diabetes or prediabetes. â€¢ Certain medicines, such as corticosteroids. Low blood sugar can be caused by: â€¢ Certain medicines, especially those used to treat diabetes. â€¢ Liver disease, such as cirrhosis. Rarely, high or low blood sugar can be caused by other medical problems that affect hormone levels. Prediabetes and diabetes Blood sugar helps fuel your body. Normally, your blood sugar rises slightly af Continue reading >>
What Is The Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels, And What Blood Sugar Level Constitutes A True Emergency?
Question:What is the normal range for blood sugar levels, and what blood sugar level constitutes a true emergency? Answer:Now, in a normal individual we measure blood sugar under different circumstances. What we call fasting blood sugar or blood glucose levels is usually done six to eight hours after the last meal. So it's most commonly done before breakfast in the morning; and the normal range there is 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter. Now when you eat a meal, blood sugar generally rises and in a normal individual it usually does not get above a 135 to 140 milligrams per deciliter. So there is a fairly narrow range of blood sugar throughout the entire day. Now in our diabetic patients we see both low blood sugar levels that we call hypoglycemia, or elevated blood sugars, hyperglycemia. Now, if the blood sugar drops below about 60 or 65 milligrams per deciliter, people will generally get symptoms, which are some shakiness, feeling of hunger, maybe a little racing of the heart and they will usually be trenchant or if they eat something, it goes away right away. But if blood sugar drops below 50 and can get down as low as 40 or 30 or even 20, then there is a progressive loss of mental function and eventually unconsciousness and seizures. And of course that is very dangerous and a medical emergency. On the other side, if blood sugar gets up above 180 to 200, then it exceeds the capacity of the kidneys to reabsorb the glucose and we begin to spill glucose into the urine. And if it gets way up high, up in the 400s or even 500s, it can be associated with some alteration in mental function. And in this situation, if it persists for a long time, we can actually see mental changes as well. So either too low or very exceedingly high can cause changes in mental function. Next: W Continue reading >>
Effects Of Age On Plasma Glucose Levels In Non-diabetic Hong Kong Chinese
Go to: Subjects and methods In this survey, performed in the period between April 1996 and August 1997, we recruited 17 242 adult subjects from the community of Hong Kong. The methodology has been reported before (6). Volunteer participants came to the United Christian Nethersole Community Health Service (UCHCNS) Centers for health assessment. UCNCHS is a self-funded, non-profit organization with the objective of health promotion through primary health care and education. Participants came from different districts all over Hong Kong. All of them gave verbal informed consent before the examination was performed. Participants were interviewed and examined by a nursing officer and a clinician. Demographic data, and past and present medical history were collected. Demographic data, including height and weight (measured to the nearest 0.1 kg) and blood pressure, were obtained following the standard protocol, with the subject in light clothing without shoes. Blood pressure was measured on the right arm with a standard mercury sphygmomanometer. The Korotkoff sound V was taken as the diastolic blood pressure. Blood specimens were taken from all participants. The timing of blood taking varied depending on the availability of the patient. According to the time of blood sampling, there were three types of plasma glucose samples. Fasting plasma glucose was measured after overnight fasting for at least 10 hours, 2-hour post-prandial plasma glucose glucose was measured 2 hours after a meal of usual quantity, and random plasma glucose was collected in the time periods other than fasting or 2-hour post-prandial. Plasma glucose was measured by a hexokinase method (Hitachi 911, analyzer Boehringer Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany). The intra-assay coefficient of variation (CV) of glucose was Continue reading >>
Blood Glucose Control Before Age 55 May Increase Your Chances Of Living Beyond 90
I have recently read an interesting study by Yashin and colleagues (2009) at Duke University’s Center for Population Health and Aging. (The full reference to the article, and a link, are at the end of this post.) This study is a gem with some rough edges, and some interesting implications. The study uses data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). The FHS, which started in the late 1940s, recruited 5209 healthy participants (2336 males and 2873 females), aged 28 to 62, in the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. At the time of Yashin and colleagues’ article publication, there were 993 surviving participants. I rearranged figure 2 from the Yashin and colleagues article so that the two graphs (for females and males) appeared one beside the other. The result is shown below (click on it to enlarge); the caption at the bottom-right corner refers to both graphs. The figure shows the age-related trajectory of blood glucose levels, grouped by lifespan (LS), starting at age 40. As you can see from the figure above, blood glucose levels increase with age, even for long-lived individuals (LS > 90). The increases follow a U-curve (a.k.a. J-curve) pattern; the beginning of the right side of a U curve, to be more precise. The main difference in the trajectories of the blood glucose levels is that as lifespan increases, so does the width of the U curve. In other words, in long-lived people, blood glucose increases slowly with age; particularly up to 55 years of age, when it starts increasing more rapidly. Now, here is one of the rough edges of this study. The authors do not provide standard deviations. You can ignore the error bars around the points on the graph; they are not standard deviations. They are standard errors, which are much lower than the corresponding standard deviatio Continue reading >>
Glucose: The Silent Killer
The deadly effects of even slightly elevated glucose are fatally misunderstood. One reason for this calamity is physicians who continue to rely on obsolete blood glucose ranges. These doctors fail to recognize that any excess glucose creates lethal metabolic pathologies that are underlying factors behind multiple age-related diseases. People today thus suffer and die from diabetic-like complications without knowing their blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high! Life Extension® long ago argued that most aging people have elevated blood glucose. Our controversial position has been vindicated as mainstream medicine consistently lowers the upper-level threshold of acceptable (safe) fasting blood glucose. As new evidence accumulates, it has become abundantly clear that maturing individuals need to take aggressive actions to ensure their fasting and after-meal glucose levels are kept in safe ranges. Glucose Is Like Gasoline Our body’s primary source of energy is glucose. All of our cells use it, and when there is not enough glucose available, our body shuts down in a similar way that a car engine stops when the gasoline tank is empty. When glucose is properly utilized, our cells produce energy efficiently. As cellular sensitivity to insulin diminishes, excess glucose accumulates in our bloodstream. Like spilled gasoline, excess blood glucose creates a highly combustible environment from which oxidative and inflammatory fires chronically erupt. Excess glucose not used for energy production converts to triglycerides that are either stored as unwanted body fat or accumulate in the blood where they contribute to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque.1-6 If you were filling your automobile with gasoline and the tank reached full, you would not keep pumping in more gas. Yet Continue reading >>
Aging Is Associated With Increased Hba1c Levels, Independently Of Glucose Levels And Insulin Resistance, And Also With Decreased Hba1c Diagnostic Specificity.
Abstract AIM: To determine whether using HbA1c for screening and management could be confounded by age differences, whether age effects can be explained by unrecognized diabetes and prediabetes, insulin resistance or postprandial hyperglycaemia, and whether the effects of aging have an impact on diagnostic accuracy. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis in adults without known diabetes in the Screening for Impaired Glucose Tolerance (SIGT) study 2005-2008 (n=1573) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2006 (n=1184). RESULTS: Both glucose intolerance and HbA(1c) levels increased with age. In univariate analyses including all subjects, HbA(1c) levels increased by 0.93 mmol/mol (0.085%) per 10 years of age in the SIGT study and by 1.03 mmol/mol (0.094%) per 10 years in the NHANES; in both datasets, the HbA(1c) increase was 0.87 mmol/mol (0.08%) per 10 years in subjects without diabetes, and 0.76 mmol/mol (0.07%) per 10 years in subjects with normal glucose tolerance, all P<0.001. In multivariate analyses of subjects with normal glucose tolerance, the relationship between age and HbA(1c) remained significant (P<0.001) after adjustment for covariates including race, BMI, waist circumference, sagittal abdominal diameter, triglyceride/HDL ratio, and fasting and 2-h plasma glucose and other glucose levels, as assessed by an oral glucose tolerance test. In both datasets, the HbA(1c) of an 80-year-old individual with normal glucose tolerance would be 3.82 mmol/mol (0.35%) greater than that of a 30-year-old with normal glucose tolerance, a difference that is clinically significant. Moreover, the specificity of HbA(1c) -based diagnostic criteria for prediabetes decreased substantially with increasing age (P<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: In two la Continue reading >>
Are You At Risk For Diabetes?
Who Gets Diabetes and How to Manage It Diabetes is a metabolic disease that can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Several factors, such as body weight, family history and race and ethnicity may increase your risk of diabetes. Diabetes can be effectively managed by exercising and eating a healthy diet. What is diabetes? Diabetes (medically known as diabetes mellitus) is a common, chronic disorder marked by elevated levels of blood glucose, or sugar. It occurs when your cells don’t respond appropriately to insulin (a hormone secreted by the pancreas), and when your pancreas can’t produce more insulin in response. Diabetes usually can’t be cured. Left untreated—or poorly managed—it can lead to serious long-term complications, including kidney failure, amputation, and blindness. Moreover, having diabetes increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. Your body and sugar To understand diabetes, it’s helpful to understand the basics of how your body metabolizes (breaks down) sugar. Most of the cells in your body need sugar as a source of energy. When you eat carbohydrates, such as a bowl of pasta or some vegetables, your digestive system breaks the carbohydrates down into simple sugars such as glucose, which travel into and through your bloodstream to nourish and energize cells. A key player in the breakdown of sugar is the pancreas, a fish-shaped gland behind your stomach and liver. The pancreas fills two roles. It produces enzymes that flow into the small intestine to help break down the nutrients in your food—proteins, carbohydrates, and fats—to provide sources of energy and building material for the body’s cells. It makes hormones that regulate the disposal of nutrients, including sugars. Cells in Continue reading >>
Does Statin Increase Blood Sugar Level?
Lipitor (sold generically as atorvastatin) belongs to a popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, which make up a major portion of all prescriptions filled in the United States each year. Lipitor plays a role in that popularity: it was the top-selling prescription drug in 2011, generating $7.7 billion dollars in U.S. sales for manufacturer Pfizer that year. It remains one of the most widely prescribed drugs on the market. Like all statins, Lipitor helps prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood. Recently, medical researchers uncovered new risks associated with the drug, including an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes. Although clinical research on Lipitor and other statins indicates these drugs can increase a patient’s risk for developing diabetes, they shed little light on how the increased risk occurs. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body fails to properly use or produce insulin, a crucial hormone the body uses to convert food into energy. Bodies break down the food we eat into sugar, or glucose, which travels throughout the bloodstream. But if insulin isn’t working the way it should, glucose can’t enter the body’s cells to provide them with the energy they need. This causes a spike in blood sugar levels – a problem that can result in serious health complications. Researchers suspect that taking statins, including Lipitor, impairs the function of special cells in the pancreas that store and release insulin. There is also evidence that statins, like Atorvastatin, can decrease the body’s sensitivity to insulin. The study, which included 153,840 non-diabetic women between the ages of 50 and 79, considered several other factors also known to increase the risk for diabetes, including advanced age, obesi Continue reading >>
Healthy Aging With Diabetes
“I can tell you one thing — growing old ain’t for wimps!” —gray-haired gentleman at Sterling Center YMCA in Beverly, Massachusetts It used to be said that having diabetes aged people an additional 20 years. Today, thanks to better tools for managing diabetes and preventing and treating its complications, people with diabetes have the opportunity to live longer than ever before. However, managing diabetes in the golden years presents a variety of challenges, ranging from increased insulin resistance to being on multiple drugs. Here is what you should know about the effects of diabetes on aging and vice versa, and what you can do to stay healthy and full of vitality well into old age. What happens during aging As you age, you may be most aware of your new gray hairs and wrinkles, but aging causes changes throughout the entire body. A person’s basal metabolic rate — the amount of energy the body expends at rest — declines with age. By some estimates, a person’s basal metabolism drops by 2% per decade starting at age 20. Some researchers believe that this decline is due almost solely to the loss of muscle mass that comes with age. The body’s ability to process oxygen — its aerobic capacity — also declines with age. By some estimates, a person’s aerobic capacity by age 65 is typically only 60% to 70% of what it was when he was younger (although the decline appears to be less in older people who exercise regularly). This decline may be due to several factors, including poor lung function, heart function, and blood circulation. With advancing years, the body gradually becomes less adept at taking up and using glucose from the bloodstream — a condition known as glucose intolerance, which sets the stage for Type 2 diabetes. One contributing factor to Continue reading >>