As I often report, doctors routinely overtreat older people in this country with unnecessary, ineffective, and even dangerous drugs and medical procedures—which often end up causing more harm than good. And now, some experts are even questioning the benefits of strictly controlling blood sugar in older people with Type II diabetes.
It’s a huge issue that’s been overlooked for years. Especially when you consider that one in four people over 65 in the U.S. has Type II diabetes.
But before I tell you all about that important, new investigation, let’s back up to look at the problem of overtreatment in general among older adults…
We’re killing older people with overtreatment
In my view, the overtreatment epidemic among older adults relates strongly to the rampant age bias problem in medical research today. This kind of bias happens when researchers only test drugs or procedures on younger people—and they exclude older people with chronic diseases who actually need the treatments being studied.
Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. Older adults often have stronger adverse reactions and less-pronounced beneficial reactions to medical treatments when compared to younger adults. So, by excluding them, it makes the treatments seem more effective than they really are. As a result, doctors continue to blindly prescribe aggressive, unnecessary, and ultimately harmful treatments to their older patients.
This tragic scenario plays out every day across the country. Take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, for example.
All the original research on these toxic drugs involved young, relatively healthy participants. And it excluded older adults with actual heart disease.
Then, once the drugs had been on the market for a while, some physicians started to see their ill-effects among older, sicker patients. Eventually, the American Geriatrics Association and the American Medical Association concluded that there’s no justification to prescribe statin drugs to people older than 70.
Of course, as I always report, there’s no justification to put anyone at any age on these toxic drugs. In fact, we now know statins actually cause heart disease, the very disease they promised to prevent! (Of course, they also cause just about every other common modern disease.)
And now, similar to how statins have been questioned, some experts are starting to question the benefit of strict blood sugar control in older people with Type II diabetes…
Strict blood sugar targets don’t help patients live longer
Doctors in the U.S. set the HbA1C target (the long-term measure of blood sugar control) much lower than they do in Europe. But some diabetes specialists recently questioned the benefit of these low targets at the International Diabetes Federation Congress.
First, researchers pointed out that there’s a disturbing lack of data on older people with Type II diabetes. (No surprise there!)
In fact, in a recent analysis of nearly 2,500 studies on diabetes, only 0.6 percent of them included people older than 65 years. Plus—31 percent of them purposively excluded people older than 65, and 55 percent of them purposefully excluded people older than 70!
Of the few major studies that did include older people, only one found any benefit for strict blood sugar control…while another found serious harms!
Indeed, the diabetes specialists made particular note of a 2010 study that did include older people with Type II diabetes. In that study, there was a classic “U-shaped” association between blood sugar (HbA1C) and heart disease/total mortality. In other words, the risk of developing heart disease and mortality was highest for people at both ends—people with the highest blood sugar…as well as people with the lowest! And people in the middle had the lowest risk.
This finding suggests that lower blood sugar isn’t always better. In fact, when it get pushed too low with medication, the risk of heart disease and death actually increases.
Medha Munshi, M.D., who led the investigation, stated, “strict glycemic control in the elderly is meaningless.” Plus, he said, when you push an older person’s blood sugar too low, the risks are “catastrophic and well documented.”
In addition, many Type II drugs—including insulin and the newer insulin-type drugs—carry serious health risks all by themselves…
For example, a 2011 study showed there were almost 100,000 emergency hospitalizations between 2007 and 2009 in people older than 65 years due to prescription drugs for Type II diabetes. And another study found that these kinds of emergency hospitalizations were associated with a nearly four-times higher risk of death during a five-year period.
Beyond all these risks, very low blood sugar also increases your risk of suffering anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, dementia, falls, fractures, and frailty. And finally, there are practical problems for the patients who take blood sugar drugs—including having to follow complicated daily regimens, loss of independence, and higher costs.
In the end, it’s my view that slightly elevated blood sugar (like slightly elevated blood pressure) may be naturally protective in older adults.
Plus, there’s a ton of emerging research showing you can prevent—and even reverse—Type II diabetes without resorting to drugs. You can obtain a full report about the uncommonly effective, commonsense strategies to do so in my online learning protocol, the Integrative Protocol for Defeating Diabetes. To learn more about this innovative online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now.
“Is Strict Glycemic Control Meaningless for the Elderly?” Medscape, 12/6/19. (medscape.com/viewarticle/922241#vp_1)
“Diabetes in Older Adults.” Diabetes Care. 2012;35(12):2650–2664. doi:10.2337/dc12-1801