Many seniors suffer from type 2 diabetes (which affects about 95% of those with diabetes) and battle to keep it under control.
Diabetes is characterized by hyperglycemia (excess blood sugar) and insulin resistance (which prevents glucose from entering the cells and, instead, builds it up in the blood).Â A diabetic may not show any symptoms for many years.Â As a result, many overlook the most common initial symptoms â€“ increased thirst and frequent urination. This a result of excess glucose in the bloodstream sucking water from tissues, thus forcing the body to take in more liquid and, as a result, excrete more fluid.
What Can Be Done?
The single most effective treatment, and best prevention, is gradual and permanent weight loss.Â Â This means eating less and exercising more.
One can start by cutting out desserts and avoiding second portions.Â Increase the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains that are high in complex carbohydrates, and decrease the amount of red meat and sugars.Â Avoid alcoholic beverages.
It is important to consult a physician about medications, since there can be serious side effects and contraindications.Â Â In addition, seniors with diabetes need to:
- Have regular blood tests.
- Have their eyes checked regularly to keep track of diabetic retinopathy.
- Monitor their weight and blood pressure.
- Check the health of their feet for any signs of foot ulcers or infections
- Monitor their levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Conduct regular urine tests to look for any kidney problems
- Get vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia as a precaution against additional infection
- Stop smoking
- Manage stress
New Jerseyâ€™s Expert Home Care for Elders and Seniors has been educating diabetic seniors and helping them manage their illness since 1984. Please call us when you need help at 800-848-2336.
Posted by: Frank Esposito, President of Expert Home Care