Did you know that one in every four seniors lives with diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic disease and often a life-long condition. Diabetes can cause severe health complications and requires careful treatment. Diabetes is a challenge and a risk to seniors, but thankfully managing diabetes is possible. In fact, there are many ways you can manage your diabetes to decrease or avoid altogether the most severe impacts it can have on your life.
Why are elders more at risk of diabetes? One in four elders will be diagnosed with diabetes which is sometimes called a “lifestyle disease”, but that is not always a helpful descriptor. Elders are at a higher risk for diabetes due to ageing, a metabolism that has slowed down significantly since youth, a reduction in physical activity, and weight gain. There are other factors, but these are the most common among elders diagnosed with diabetes.
The good news is you can still enjoy life and live an active life as a senior with diabetes. Diabetes care is a priority for maintaining a happy and healthy quality of life as a senior. Fortunately, there are many ways of managing diabetes and there are resources available to support you and provide quality care. There are health care professionals that can advise you and closely monitor your diabetes.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when a person has high blood sugar levels. The high blood sugar levels are caused when the body is not able to produce its own insulin or when the body has developed a resistance to insulin. There are two types of diabetes. Type one is high blood sugar levels caused by the body’s inability to produce its own insulin. Type two diabetes, as mentioned above, is high blood sugar levels caused by the body’s developed resistance to insulin.
Most seniors who suffer from diabetes are diagnosed as type two diabetics. Again, this is when the body has developed a resistance to insulin which causes high blood sugar levels in the individual. Any person over 45 is at an increased risk of developing type two diabetes. Other factors that increase the risk for people over 45, and especially seniors include, but are not limited to: age, reduced activity, poor metabolism, and obesity.
Tips for Managing Diabetes
Here are seven ways seniors can manage their diabetes for happy, healthy, and long lives:
- Seek Care from a Diabetes Management Clinic or Primary Care Medical Service. You will want to have a strong, knowledgeable, and support team of medical care providers, experts in senior health and living, and if any loved ones, relatives, or home health aids that provide care for you on a regular basis. A Diabetes Management Clinic will have specialized care for seniors experiencing complications from diabetes and will help you gather all the information, tools, and practices you need to be happy and healthy.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet. Experts at Diabetes Management Clinics will tell you a healthy diet is extremely important in the day-to-day management of your diabetes. As a senior you should adhere to a diet that is low in sugar and saturated fats. You can do this by eating foods high in protein and fiber. Eat more whole grains, vegetables, and beans. Avoid sugar even if it means cutting out fruit juice and fresh fruit. Avoid dairy, fatty foods, fried foots, and carbonated drinks like soda or pop.
- Stay Active, Seniors. In addition to seeking care at a Diabetes Management Clinic and adjusting your diet you will want to exercise regularly. If you are a senior suffering from diabetes it is recommended that you exercise five days a week for thirty minutes a day. Regular exercise will help keep your blood sugar levels down and increase healthy weight loss. Going for walks, practicing yoga, or joining a water aerobics class for seniors are just a few ideas for a healthy exercise routine. Exercise is crucial in managing your diabetes and is part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Consult with your doctor of a professional at your Diabetes Management Clinic before beginning any new exercise routines.
- Monitor Your Blood Sugar. You may do this on your own or your caregiver may assist you with monitoring your blood sugar. Either way, it is an essential part of your diabetes care. You or your caregiver can learn to check blood sugar levels and administer insulin by consulting with your medical professional or health care team.
- Take Your Medication. Be sure to take your medication on time and as prescribed by your Diabetes Management Clinic or doctor. Missing medication can upset your blood sugar levels. If you are prescribed medication to manage your diabetes be sure to use a pill organizer or a device that works for you to avoid missing any doses or running out unexpectedly. Be sure any other medications you are taking will not interact with your diabetes medication. There are many products available to help you manage your medication and diabetes, including smartphone or tablet apps. There are also products that will prompt you to check your blood sugar level.
- Get Vaccinated. As you age your immune system weakens. Seniors are more susceptible to sickness like pneumonia and the flu because of a weakened immune system. Seniors with diabetes are not only more susceptible, they will also have a longer road to recovery from these illnesses. The simple and crucial step of getting regular vaccinations recommended by your doctor or Diabetes Management Clinic specialists can help you stay healthy and help you in managing your diabetes.
- Reduce Stress Levels. It is important to develop ways to manage your stress levels. This may sound simple, but many seniors will struggle with managing diabetes if they can not find a way to decrease their overall stress levels. High stress levels can impact your blood sugar levels and cause spikes. You may consider yoga, meditation, walks, massages, or even adopting a pet to keep you company. Studies show that pets reduce stress and increase overall quality of life.
>> If you have questions about managing diabetes, please contact Cano Health at 855.CANOMED (855.226.6633) for care that you can count on.