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Dealing with Diabetes in Seniors

Dealing with Diabetes in Seniors

Dealing with Diabetes in Seniors

Many older adults suffer from diabetes which is a disease caused by high blood sugar. However, there are ways that type 2 diabetes can be prevented. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, there are ways that you can manage the disease and avoid additional health issues.

When we eat food, it breaks down into glucose and that gives us daily energy. For glucose to be used in your body it needs insulin, which is a hormone that helps the glucose get into our cells. However, if you are suffering from diabetes, your body may not make enough insulin or may not use it in the proper way, or you may be suffering from both conditions. This means that too much glucose is now in your blood stream, and you can develop health issues over time. At that point, you should see a specialist called an endocrinologist and from there, your family doctor can help you manage the disease.

There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes – Refers to a disease in which your body does not make insulin. Usually, this condition starts when you are a child and you have it your whole life.
  • Type 2 diabetes – This means that your body does not make or use insulin properly. This condition affects middle-aged or older adults but can also affect children.

Management of diabetes is very important as over your lifetime, it can cause additional health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, eye issues, nerve damage etc. You may also be at a higher risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Prediabetic Stage

Many older Americans are prediabetic. This means that their blood shows that they have glucose levels that are abnormal but are not yet in the range for diabetes. These adults have a greater probability that they will get type 2 diabetes and additional illnesses such as stroke and heart attack.

There are many things that you can do to prevent diabetes. Here are a few:

  • Losing weight
  • Healthy eating
  • Staying physically active with regular exercise
  • Quitting smoking
  • Checking your glucose levels regularly

Common Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

The main way that you can discover if you have diabetes is by having a blood test. However, there are other various symptoms that you may experience if you have type 2 diabetes. These are a few of them:

  • Tiredness
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Urinating often
  • Blurred vision

This is not a comprehensive list of symptoms of type 2 diabetes. You should always speak with your doctor if you have concerns about your health.

There are various tests your doctor may ask you to do if they suspect you may have diabetes.  Sometimes you may be asked to take some of these tests twice to ensure a correct diagnosis. Speak to your doctor if you think you may have diabetes and they will let you know which test is best for you.

Here are some common tests used for diabetes diagnosis:

  • Random plasma glucose test
  • A1C test
  • Fasting plasma glucose test
  • Oral glucose tolerance test

If you have been tested by your doctor and it was determined that you in fact do have type 2 diabetes, the best thing to do is to manage it properly. Based on your specific situation, your doctor may want you to manage it by exercising, watching your diet, injections, or medications. This is to ensure that you do not develop additional conditions that may harm your health later.

How Diabetes Affects Your Brain

Older adults with diabetes may experience cognitive decline and even depression. Your doctor should screen you for these conditions so that you understand your condition and what you will need to do to manage it.

Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will guide you on how to take care of yourself. This self-care is important so that you can continue to live a healthy and happy life. Here are some of the steps you should be taking if you have diabetes:

  • Tracking your glucose level: Your glucose level cannot be too high or too low. Therefore, it is important for you to track it properly. The management of your glucose level will depend on whether you are taking insulin. Check with your doctor regarding your specific situation.
  • Eating health food: Everything you eat will affect your glucose levels. Therefore, you will need to educate yourself on the best things to eat, how much, and when you should eat.
  • Being active: Your glucose levels are improved with exercise. You should consult your doctor on how much exercise you should be getting, create a plan, and follow it so that you can keep your glucose levels at bay.
  • Taking medications: Your medications should be taken as directed so that you can keep your diabetes controlled.
  • Socialize: Make sure to socialize with others such as friends and loved ones to avoid loneliness and isolation.
  • Set Goals with Your Doctor for Managing Your Diabetes: Setting simple goals with your doctor regarding managing your diabetes will help keep you accountable and on track in keeping yourself healthy.
  • Ask for Help: If you need help in managing daily tasks, ask your loved ones to help or work with your insurance to hire additional help at home.

Diabetes is a disease that can be controlled; therefore, you can still stay healthy if you have it. To keep yourself healthy as possible, you should do the following things:

  • Stop smoking
  • Manage your health (heart, kidneys etc.)
  • Get your eyes checked
  • Get your flu shot and pneumonia vaccine
  • Get your teeth and gums checked
  • Take care of your skin and wear skin protection
  • Check your feet for red patches and take care of any sores, blisters, or calluses
  • Do cancer screenings
  • Check your blood pressure and manage as needed
  • Always speak with your doctor about any concerns with your health

Although it is important to speak with your doctor once you have been diagnosed with diabetes and come up with a management plan for you to follow, it is also crucial to speak with your doctor about any changes, complications, and concerns you may have as you continue to manage this disease. Therefore, your management plan may need to change over time, and you will need to let your doctor know so that you can adjust your plan to continue the management of diabetes.

Home Care Services Hinsdale Illinois

Are you or a loved one suffering from diabetes and need help managing their day-to-day activities? Assisting Hands Home Care can provide non-medical home health care to your loved one. We offer senior care services in  Burr Ridge, Lyons, Indian Head Park, McCook, Hodgkins, Countryside, Willow Springs, Palisades, La Grange Highlands, Clarendon Hills, Brookfield, Western Springs, Hinsdale, Darien, La Grange, Downers Grove, Oak Brook, Willowbrook, IL and the surrounding areas in DuPage and Cook Counties. To learn more about our services, call us today at (630) 407-1932.