Diabetic Epidemic Among the Elderly

12.2 million Americans 60 and older have diabetes.

Marcia Frellick

HealthKey.com contributor

November 16, 2009


Diabetes has increased among both men and women and in all age groups, but the disease still disproportionately affects the elderly. More than 20 percent of people 60 and older have diabetes, most of them diagnosed with type 2, according to the National Institutes of Health. In comparison, that number is 2.6 percent for those 20 through 39, and 10.8 percent for those 40 through 59.

Here are some added complications:

The elderly may be particularly vulnerable to the disease because of economic conditions that may prompt them to skip health appointments, or lack of regular exercise or a support group. Of particular urgency in fighting the disease among this population are the burgeoning numbers of elderly diabetics. If current trends continue, the proportion of diabetics who are 65 and older is projected to increase to 53 percent by 2025 and to 58 percent by 2050, according to estimates cited by the American Diabetes Association.