Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Obesity After Age 50 Raises Diabetes Risk

Increased Diabetes Risk Exists to a Lesser Extent After Age 75, Study Finds

Is Obesity Less Risky in Elderly People? continued...

If the impact of obesity on diabetes risk really does decline with age, as the newly published study suggests, this could be seen as more evidence that carrying extra weight is not as dangerous in the elderly as has widely been believed.

But Biggs is not so sure.

“I would be cautious about making too much of this finding until it is confirmed in other studies,” she says.

Geriatric diabetes specialist Medha Munshi, MD, at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center, treats mostly patients who are age 75 and older.

Although some of her patients are newly diagnosed, most have been managing their diabetes for many years.

She says she rarely puts her elderly patients on diets, but she does stress the importance of exercise.

“With age, you lose muscle and gain fat,” she says. “When older people try to lose weight simply by dieting they are likely to lose much-needed muscle mass. Exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, is important in older people not just for diabetes but for quality of life.”

1 | 2

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
man organizing pills
Close up of eye

Woman serving fast food from window
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
are battery operated toothbrushes really better

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture

WebMD Special Sections