For more than 12 million Americans over the age 65, living with diabetes is a reality that is far too common. In some cases, older loved ones aren’t even aware that they have the disease until they’ve been diagnosed.
It can manifest in different ways for different people. Some may not have symptoms at first, while others may experience them very quickly. While scientists are not certain why some people develop diabetes, evidence shows that symptoms can vary depending on the elevation of blood sugar.
Part of the challenge for many seniors is being able to identify the signs of the disease early on to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and slow the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
Knowing your senior’s specific risks and symptoms can be a life-saving part of preventive care. Below, Freedom Home Care lists important factors and symptoms that can lead to diabetes. Be sure your loved one is familiar with them.
Know Your Risks
Diabetes occurs when the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or when the cells don’t respond to the insulin being produced. Type 1 and Type 2 are the most common type of diabetes in seniors. A person can also develop pre-diabetes where their blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2.
Besides age, there are a number of factors that may increase the risk of developing the disease. Some of these might include:
* A history of diabetes in the family
* Autoantibodies present in the system
* Viral illness due to environmental factors
* Low vitamin D consumption or other dietary factors
* Residing in countries like Finland and Sweden where higher rates of Type 1 diabetes occurs
* Weight gain
* Sedentary lifestyle
* Polycystic ovary syndrome
* Gestational diabetes
* High blood pressure
* Metabolic syndrome
* Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Identify the Warning Signs
* Dry Mouth
* Increased thirst
* Increased hunger
* Frequent Urination
* Blurred Vision
* Unexplained weight loss
* Cuts and sores that are slow to heal
* Frequent skin and gum infections
* Frequent yeast infections
* Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
Complications in Seniors can Include:
* Kidney Failure
* Nerve damage
* Skin infections
* Reduced blood supply to the limbs
* Skin infections
* Peripheral vascular disease
* Overflow incontinence
Doctors recommend that adults over 40 be screened for diabetes every three years. important that once diagnosed, the disease is managed properly.
One of the most dangerous effects of diabetes is the chance of developing vascular dementia. This occurs because of one or more strokes. Other potentially long-term effects include diabetic retinopathy and nerve damage in the feet. That’s why it’s important, once diagnosed, the disease is properly managed.
There are a number of ways to help manage the condition. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and increased water intake are just a few.
Many times older loved ones who are diagnosed with diabetes require a little more assistance. A professional home care agency can provide specialized care tailored to your senior’s specific needs.
Contact Freedom Home Care today!