Older Diabetes Patients Struggle To Use Certain Blood Glucose Monitors

Use Certain Blood Glucose Monitors

One of the biggest struggles that the healthcare industry faces in regard to diabetes management is improper monitoring among patients. When patients are unable to effectively monitor their blood glucose levels, it’s difficult for healthcare providers to make the right adjustments to the treatment plan. This also brings about an obstacle that reduces the chances of a diabetic identifying changes in their blood glucose levels that needs attention. Recent studies show that older patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of low compliance, particularly due to a struggle with the latest blood sugar monitoring devices. 

Study Finds A Struggle To Use Emerging Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices Among Seniors

The NHS has been working on revolutionizing the healthcare services it offers for many years. In terms of diabetes care, the NHS has started to roll out new continuous glucose monitors to patients who have this disease. The idea is to provide more comprehensive data surrounding the patient’s glucose levels throughout the day, while also making it easier for the healthcare provider to obtain data from the patient. 

Unfortunately, current statistics show that older patients who use these devices have a harder time to track their glucose levels. The app from the NHS uses wireless technology to send data related to the patient’s blood sugar level to their smartphone. These devices are also capable of transmitting a signal to the patient’s phone if their blood sugar levels are too low or too high. 

In 2022, the NHS provided 400,000 patients with these new blood glucose monitoring devices. Researchers conducted a study to determine the usage of these devices among patients who were 70 years or older. This trial revealed that patients at this age have difficulty understanding and using these devices. 

It’s important to note that the devices provided by the NHS only beamed data to the patient’s smartphone. The device also only alerted the patient when their blood glucose levels were not normal. 

Finding A Solution To The Obstacle

It has already been announced that the poor usage rates among elderly diabetic patients is concerning. This also calls for a solution to be considered in order to overcome this obstacle, particularly due to the high efficiency that continuous blood glucose monitors offer. 

There are a number of solutions that could potentially help make the use of these monitors easier for those over the age of 70 – or even some individuals younger who still find it troublesome to use the devices. 

One of the best solutions is to use continuous blood glucose monitoring devices that are able to emit data to the patient’s healthcare team. When the data is automatically submitted to the providers, they can keep an eye on the patient’s health from a remote location. The monitor can also alert these healthcare staff about high or low blood glucose levels in a patient. This data then allows the patient to be notified via a telephone call or message, whichever would be easier for the elderly individual. 

Another solution is to use continuous blood glucose monitoring devices that do not require a smartphone to provide readings. This may include the use of a separate digital device that contains a built-in screen. When the patient clicks on this device, serving as a type of remote control, the glucose monitor measures their blood sugar levels and display it on this small gadget. 

How Frequently Should Older Adults Check Their Blood Sugar Levels?

An important matter to consider among the elderly is the fact that diabetes is often accompanied by other conditions. The risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and several other health problems is higher in both old age and diabetes. This is why more efficient management of diabetes becomes critical among these individuals. 

In one study, researchers explain that hypoglycemia seems to be a relatively common diabetes complication among elderly patients. The scientists behind the study explain that there are multiple possible reasons for the higher prevalence of hypoglycemia among this particular age group. 

Accompanying diseases may be one potential reason. Diseases may interact with each other, potentially causing further complications with the management of diabetes. Additionally, researchers also suggest that some medications may interfere with diabetes management and raise the risk of hypoglycemia. 

A contributing factor related to the lifestyle and dieting habits of the individuals would be malnutrition. When you are malnourished, it means your body does not get enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients on a daily basis. Studies have shown that older adults are at a greater risk for malnutrition. 

If the patient is taking insulin as part of their treatment, then regular testing during the day is crucial. This includes before and after meals, as well as prior to participating in an exercise routine. For those with type 2 diabetes that does not use insulin, less frequent testing is needed – but glucose levels still need to be monitored throughout the day. 

The Risks And Dangers Of Hypoglycemia Among Older Adults

Due to the higher risk of hypoglycemia, it’s important for adults to understand the dangers that this complication can bring. It is well known that older people are more prone to falling. In fact, an estimated 33% of the elderly who live in their own home experience a fall once or more every year. 

Hypoglycemia can cause a number of symptoms to develop. This includes weakness, fatigue, and even dizziness. All of these symptoms can further increase the risk of an elderly patient falling down. Due to weaker bones, these falls put the person in a position where they may easily suffer a fracture or even a broken bone. 

Bottom Line

Older individuals often find it harder to adapt to the latest technological advancements. With newer models of blood glucose monitoring devices on the market, it seems like they are making it harder for senior diabetics to regularly check their glucose levels. Education can play a role in helping these individuals become better acquainted with these devices, along with the use of continuous glucose monitoring systems, which require less manual effort from the patient’s side.