About 1 in every 4 seniors suffer from diabetes. This common disease seriously impacts quality of life in a number of ways. For most cases, however, it could have been prevented or delayed.  

Diabetes and the Elderly: 7 Things You Should Know

Diabetes steals your quality of life in many different ways. At best, it limits your lifestyle and decreases your life expectancy. You may look into a personal care facility as a great option for continued care. In the meantime, get to know this common, tragic disease.

1) Some people get prediabetes.

A diagnosis of diabetes occurs when your blood glucose levels are elevated significantly. However, you can also be diagnosed with prediabetes if your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for diabetes. If you have prediabetes, you are at high risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

2) There are two types of diabetes.

With type 1 diabetes, your body is unable to make insulin. This type normally develops during childhood or adolescence, but it can also appear later in life. With type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin but it cannot effectively use it. You typically get type 2 later in life due to various genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

3) Type 2 can be prevented or delayed.

While there is no cure for type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be prevented or delayed. Choosing a healthy lifestyle is the main strategy in both preventing and delaying this disease. Attain and maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and a healthy diet. Work with your doctor to establish a healthy nutrition plan and have your glucose levels checked regularly.

4) Know the symptoms of diabetes.

Both types share similar symptoms which include feeling unusually tired, thirsty, hungry, blurred vision, frequent urination, and cuts and sores that are slow to heal. In addition to these, type 1 diabetes also causes irritability and unintentional weight loss. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes develop very quickly, while symptoms of type 2 may go unnoticed for years. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, see your doctor immediately.

5) Treatment varies by person.

Your doctor will look at three different factors when choosing your treatment: the type of diabetes you have, your lifestyle routine, and your other health problems. Many individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes need exercise and diet to keep blood glucose levels under control. Others may need medicine or insulin injections. Some need a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.

6) A healthy diet is essential.

An ideal diet for diabetics is low in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. It’s high in lean proteins, vitamins, and fiber. Some great food choices include whole grains, legumes, non-starchy vegetables, and whole fruit. Avoid foods with added sugar, processed foods, and sugary drinks including fruit juice.

7) Type 2 can lead to other health problems.

Type 2 diabetes, when left unchecked and not controlled, can lead to other major health problems. These include kidney disease, heart disease, nerve damage, stroke, circulatory problems, blindness, hearing loss, cognitive impairment, and mobility difficulties. It also puts you at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease and the need for memory care.

The importance of depression screening.

Depression is a common threat to the elderly population. They typically experience less support, more isolation, and more feelings of hopelessness. This threat is even stronger when they also have diabetes. Screening for depression is extremely important to ensure optimal mental health.

Living and Aging Well with Diabetes

Diabetes seriously lessens the quality of life for many of the elderly. At the end of the day, choosing a healthy lifestyle will lower your chances for this and many other serious diseases. Eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. If you already have diabetes, it’s imperative that you control it through whatever treatment your doctor chooses. Don’t ignore it. Give yourself the best chance at a long, happy life. Get started with this guide to diabetes and the elderly.

Unlimited Care Cottages is dedicated to providing all our residents, including those with diabetes, with the healthiest, happiest, and most dignified living environment. To learn more about our unique approach or for a tour of one of our cottages, Contact Us.