According to the latest report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 million adults in the United States suffer from diabetes or prediabetes. The prevalence of diabetes in seniors stands at around 25% of the total population of seniors in the U.S.
This means that over 12 million seniors over the age of 65 years is affected by diabetes. In 2015, diabetes was identified as the 7th leading cause of death in the country.
Diabetes remains to be an incurable disease. However, as serious as this issue is, diabetes is manageable through the proper use of insulin, medication and physical activity. Here are a few important things to know about diabetes and its symptoms so that preventive measures and early detection can help seniors in the long run.
Types of Diabetes and Their Symptoms
Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar levels become too high and resultantly disrupts the proper production of insulin in the body.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and helps glucose enter the cells in our bodies to give them energy.
There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.
With the former, the body does not produce enough insulin; with the latter, the body is unable to produce it sufficiently or make efficient use of it.
Type 1 diabetes symptoms tend to appear all of a sudden and include lethargy, extreme thirst, frequent urination, heavy breathing and even sudden vision changes.
While Type 2 diabetes develops in people over the age of 40, it accounts for nearly 95% of the cases of diabetes in U.S. adults. Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes overlap with those of Type 1. Type 2 is further characterized by slow-healing wounds, numbness in the hands and feet, blurred vision as well as confusion or depression.
What Causes Diabetes?
Unfortunately, we don’t yet know what exactly causes diabetes. What seems to play a role, however is a combination of genetic and aging factors as well as lifestyle choices. Being overweight and having an inactive lifestyle is often linked to diabetes, however, the disease seems to predominantly run in families.
How Can Symptoms Be Made Better?
Although diabetes can lead to many complications such as hearing loss, heart and kidney problems, the disease is still manageable through regular exercise, managing insulin levels and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Exercising While Dealing With Diabetes
Exercise is a great way to keep your blood pressure in check, as well as your cholesterol levels. Exercise does not do any harm to a person with diabetes. In fact, a 20 to 30-minute walk at least three times a week is often recommended by doctors. There are, of course, a few things to bear in mind for people with diabetes.
Make sure to always consult with your doctor before starting any program that includes strenuous exercise. Special attention should be paid to the fluid intake before, during and after the exercise and snacks should be brought along, in case the individual starts feeling unwell. Care should also be taken to check the glucose level before starting to exercise.
Diabetes Control Through Insulin
For some people, exercise and diet control are not effective enough to control their diabetes. In such a case, insulin must be either taken orally or injected into the patient, as per doctors’ recommendations.
As we age, our bodies also tend to reduce the production of insulin. For this reason, many diabetic patients need to take insulin shots. Some of the most common insulin injections are rapid acting insulin, regular insulin, intermediate and long-acting insulin. Their effectiveness and lasting effects depend on the type of insulin injections they are and should be taken only under a doctor’s recommendation.
Living With Diabetes
Living with diabetes can be a little bit tricky but it’s all about maintaining a lifestyle that helps you cope with the disease. For example, if a diabetic patient wants to eat out, they can very well do so.
Avoid places that serve all-you-can eat-options, avoid eating fries and desserts. Start your meal with a soup or salad and if you must, split the dessert with your dinner partner.
Diabetes is not the end of the world. The bottom line is, how well your health remains with diabetes is all up to the patient.
Checking blood pressure regularly, staying active, quitting smoking and taking the prescribed medicines on time are all steps taken in the right direction. The key is to learn more about diabetes and knowing what is potentially harmful and what is safe.
Aging is not always the easiest thing to deal with on your own. Having a support system through an assisted or independent living facility can make thigs a lot easier, since such places have help available on standby at all times. If you or your loved one are seeking out options for senior care consulting in the Kansas City metropolitan area, get in touch with Ralph Caro.
Ralph Caro is a certified senior care advisor with an experience of over 35 years in senior care and placement. Reach out to Ralph Caro by calling at 816-666-7083 and get a free consultation, today!