Even if a resident of San Diego or elsewhere has gone through most of their life without worrying about diabetes doesn’t mean that there’s no risk.
In fact, there’s a higher possibility of diabetes in many elderly people for various reasons, something that caregivers, family members and the individuals themselves should consider learning more about so they can recognize the signs and take steps to provide quality care if needed.
The team at Accredited Home Care is aware of different types of diabetes and what type of care can be needed, whether it’s helping pre-diabetic people lower their risk of contracting it or other health problems.
We also like to find ways to ensure that people who already have been diagnosed with diabetes continue to take good care of their health so their condition doesn’t become worse.
Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic but manageable condition for any age, but if it is not managed well, it could affect someone’s physical and mental health and cause or increase the risk of other negative health conditions, including poor circulation, heart disease, stroke or the need to amputate fingers, toes or limbs.
For people who want to know more, the American Diabetes Association is always eager to educate people and their loved ones about the risks of diabetes and what to watch for.
The ADA also has organized Diabetes Alert Day, set for March 24, which is an opportunity to learn more about diabetes and assess your risk and that of others around you. There’s even an online assessment to see how many risk factors you may have.
Organizers of the annual celebration call the day a “wake-up call” especially if diabetes is something that you haven’t learned anything about or you never gave it much thought as something a family member may have.
The day is also an opportunity to learn more about diabetes in general since some people aren’t totally clear about the differences. This starts with discussing who can get diabetes: it’s actually a big number! Diabetes affects about 30.3 million Americans, which works out to about 9.4 percent of the country’s total population.
Although some are aware of their diabetes, many don’t realize they have it, which is about 7.2 million Americans or 1 in 4 adults.
An even larger number is 84 million, which is the number of people who have prediabetes, where blood sugar levels are high but not in the diabetes range. In this group, about 9 in 10 people don’t realize they have it.
Diabetes and the elderly
Diabetes Alert Day can also be an opportunity to learn more about the condition in general especially the different types and who is most susceptible. Type 1 occurs when the body doesn’t make insulin. This one occurs more often in younger people especially children and young adults.
Type 2 is what the elderly will likely experience. It takes place when the body has difficulties regulating insulin levels, and problems can develop if the amount of blood sugar is too low or too high.
The condition can be accelerated by certain factors that many seniors may bring to the table:
- Poor diet. Bad nutrition can affect the immune system. Processed foods, foods and drinks high in artificial colors and preservatives, and various sugars could all impact the body.
- Poor exercise. Seniors may not be eager to get out and get physical all the time, especially if various parts of their bodies are increasingly feeling painful. Concerns over decreased mobility, balance and flexibility can make it easy to say “no thanks” to regular exercise. But pretty much every exercise expert suggests that it’s important to make the effort for some type of diabetes even if it’s 20-30 minutes a day. This activity can have other benefits such as improving nutrition, balance, flexibility and overall strength.
- Family history. Certain genetic info may have a higher tendency to have diabetes and pass it down.
- Cigarette smoking. Besides being less and less socially acceptable, regular cigarette smoking can damage the body, especially if someone has been doing so for years. Looking for ways to quit can come with all sorts of benefits including better health.
- One sign of diabetes is feeling more tired than usual. However, this is difficult to interpret without other conditions since there are so many other conditions that come with aging that can cause exhaustion.
If you’re concerned about whether you have diabetes, your health provider can help. He or she can ask a variety of questions about what you’re experiencing. If they believe that you could have diabetes, they may offer a variety of tests to detect your glucose levels. This could be as simple as a quick blood draw to an all-day or all-night fast.
The results of these tests can guide possible treatment options such as insulin injections, medications, or even a prescription to “exercise more and eat better.”
If you aren’t able to get your March ‘wake up call’ in, don’t give up hope. The American Diabetes Association page is always up and full of useful information and resources. The organization also celebrates National Diabetes Month each November, another opportunity to learn more.