Type 2 Diabetes and Aging: What You Need to Know
When you become older, there are some conditions that you need to begin to worry about more, such as type 2 diabetes.
For people who have not been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but who struggle with weight problems or prediabetes, age can make a big difference in diagnosis. However, age is also an important factor for someone already struggling to manage his or her diabetes.
Higher Risk of Type 2 as You Age
Research has shown that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age. One reason for this is because as we age, we tend to gain weight and become more sedentary. However, there may be another factor at play besides weight gain and lack of exercise. Recent research conducted by the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., examines the role of beta cells and the pancreas, and their relation to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the elderly. This study specifically looks at the decline in production of beta cells in the pancreas that comes with age.
These cells store and release insulin, and they are essential to helping our body process this hormone. Researchers at Vanderbilt speculate that with age, these beta cells no longer reproduce at the same rate, and that they also experience apoptosis (cell death) at a higher rate as we age. Researchers say that one of the reasons this might occur is because the body is unable to process key nutrients such as potassium and calcium, which are key to beta cells. This could also be due to the fact that most organs lose their regenerative capacity with age. The study concludes that more research must be conducted Continue reading