While there is no cure for diabetes, it can be managed. According to the American Diabetes Association
, diabetes affects over 25 percent of Americans age 65 and older. However, many seniors with diabetes live long and healthful lives.
Here are some facts and tips that can help older adults manage diabetes while maintaining their health.
There are two different types of diabetes.
Type one diabetes
occurs when your immune system stops your body from producing enough insulin. This type of diabetes may be triggered by genetics, viruses, or other environmental causes.
Type two diabetes
– the most common type of diabetes – occurs when your blood sugar is too high. People age 45 and older are more likely to develop type two diabetes, especially if there’s a family history of the disease or they are overweight.
Know the diabetes warning signs.
If your blood sugar is high, you may notice some of these symptoms:
You can be healthy while living with diabetes.
- Frequent urination
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Weight loss
- Increased hunger or thirst
- Sores on some parts of the body
To control or prevent diabetes, schedule physical check-ups and routine eye exams
at least twice a year to monitor blood sugar levels and vision changes.
It also helps to improve your diet
and stay as active as possible in your home and community. Incorporating age-appropriate exercise
, like daily walks, yoga, and even dancing, can improve your symptoms and overall health.
Make a plan with your healthcare team.
Talk to your doctors and nurses for advice and support. If you are a participant in the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
, you can work with your coordinated care team
to create a plan that works best for you.
Care plans for diabetes may include:
- Reviewing medications and deciding how much insulin to take
- Learning how to check your blood sugar, record it, and give yourself insulin as needed
- Knowing the signs of both low and high blood sugar
- Regular exams with your physician and eye doctor
- Routine skin checks for sores and other symptoms
- Advice from a dietitian to improve blood sugar levels
- Prescribed clinical exercise, physical therapy, and/or occupational therapy
- In-home assessments for possible safety equipment that will help prevent falls
Taking steps to balance nutritious food with exercise and medication (if prescribed) can help older adults keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range for years to come.