Diabetes and Elderly People
Category : Diabetes and Elderly People
Of course, seniors (those over 65) are not the only people to be affected by diabetes: type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile-onset diabetes) is usually diagnosed during childhood, while type 2 diabetes (previously known as non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes), the most common type, is usually diagnosed in adults over the age of 45, although a growing number of young people are developing type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy.
Type 2 diabetes is linked to an unhealthy lifestyle. Major risk factors for type 2 diabetes include age, being overweight, genetic predisposition to diabetes, and a reduction in activity levels. The rates of type 2 diabetes steadily increase with age.
Type 2 diabetes is most likely to occur if you:
are over 45 years old and have high blood pressure
are over 45 years old and are overweight;
are over 45 and have (or have had) one or more family members with diabetes;
are over 55 years of age;
have had a heart attack in the past;
have heart disease;
have or have had a blood sugar test that is borderline-high;
have or have had high blood sugar levels during pregnancy (a condition called gestational diabetes);
have polycystic ovary syndrome and are overweight;
are an Aboriginal Australian or Torres Strait Islander and are over 35 years old (or younger if overweight); or
are a Pacific Islander, are from a Chinese cultural background or are from the Indian sub-continent and are over 35 years old.
What are the Effects of Diabetes on Elderly People?
A key issue for seniors with diabetes is that, sometimes, the symptoms may not be very obvious.
The well-known symptoms of diabetes, such as urinating excessively and feeling thirsty all the time, are not as obvious in the elderly as in young people.
In addition, symptoms of type 2 diabetes, such as feeling tired and lethargic, can often be misinterpreted as just part of the normal ageing process.
As a result, older people with diabetes may be relatively free of symptoms and may remain undiagnosed until damage has been done.
If left unchecked, the accumulation of glucose in the blood can cause enormous damage to nearly every major organ in the body, including kidney damage; artery damage, which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack; eye damage, leading to vision loss; erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men; and nerve damage, which can lead to traumatic injury and infection, possibly leading to limb amputation.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to mend the damage that has already been done, but you and your doctor can work together to control your blood sugar and help minimise the impact of diabetes in the future.
How Do Other Conditions Affect My Diabetes?
Many older people also have other conditions as well as diabetes, and this can complicate diabetes management.
For example, high blood pressure or high levels of certain fats in the blood can speed up the progression of common complications of diabetes, such as kidney problems, eye problems, foot problems and heart and blood vessel problems.
People with diabetes whose blood glucose levels are high are more prone to infections than people with normal blood glucose levels, so, as well as keeping your blood glucose levels in check, you should also take precautionary measures against additional infection, for example, by having regular vaccinations against ‘flu and pneumonia.
Some medications, herbs and supplements can also have an impact on your blood glucose levels, so make sure you tell your doctor, pharmacist and healthcare practitioner who treats you that you have diabetes so they can recommend the appropriate treatment for you.
Knowing the associated risks of diabetes is one of the most important things you can do to make certain you receive proper care at all times. Another vital component of care is customization. No two people are alike and every person needs a customized diabetes care plan. What works for one individual may not be the best course of treatment for another, since some people are fairly healthy and can manage their diabetes on their own while others may have one or more diabetes complications. Still others may be frail, have memory loss and have several chronic diseases in addition to diabetes.
Your doctor will assess whether tight blood sugar control or some other treatment approach is appropriate. Depending upon your doctor’s recommendations, keep in mind that:
Tight blood glucose control can lower the risks of diabetes-related blindness and kidney disease caused by small blood vessel damage.
The risk of heart attack or stroke can be diminished with proper blood pressure and cholesterol management.
Caring For An Elderly Person With Diabetes
Caring for an older adult with diabetes may include special challenges such as coexisting medical conditions, physical limitations and failing memory.
Whether the person lives alone, with you, or in a nursing home, your involvement can help them obtain better diabetes care and quality of life.
Importance of Nutrition For Elderly People With Diabetes
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is essential throughout all stages of life. However, seniors with diabetes are more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies, especially in the vitamins B1, B12, C and D and folate, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
For more great Health and Nutrition Tips refer to the website positivehealthwellness.com.
Warning signs such as a weight loss or gain of more than 10 pounds in six months, can indicate that your loved one is not eating properly.
Importance of Minerals and Vitamins For Elderly People With Diabetes
Anyone who has diabetes should—at a minimum—take high-quality vitamin and mineral supplements every week. It has been found that taking daily supplements for diabetics reduce the incidence of infection and number of sick days taken by people with type 2 diabetes.
EXERCISE FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE WITH DIABETES
It’s no secret that exercise is good for you and it’s especially important for older adults with diabetes.
Did you know, for example, that muscle strength declines by 15% per decade after age 50 and 30% per decade after age 70?
By regularly participating in strength-building exercise, however, muscle tissue and strength can be restored.
What’s more, exercise also makes it easier for older individuals to maintain their strength, balance, flexibility and endurance — all of which are important for staying healthy and independent.
Lastly, exercise improves insulin sensitivity and can improve a person’s response to blood glucose medications.
Exercise is safe for most adults aged 65 and over. Moreover, even individuals with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis can safely enjoy regular exercise. Exercise actually improves many of these conditions!
What Exercises Can Elderly People With Limited Mobility Do?
The benefits of exercise are not restricted to people who have full mobility. In fact, if injury, disability, illness, or weight problems have limited your mobility, it’s even more important to experience the mood-boosting effects of exercise.
Exercise can ease depression, relieve stress and anxiety, enhance self-esteem, and improve your whole outlook on life. While there are many challenges that come with having mobility issues, by adopting a creative approach, you can overcome your physical limitations and find enjoyable ways to exercise.
Limited mobility doesn’t mean you can’t exercise!
Workouts For Overweight Elderly People
Exercise can play a vital role in reducing weight and managing type 2 diabetes. It can stabilize blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and slow the progression of neuropathy.
But it can be daunting to start an exercise routine if you’re severely overweight. Your size can make it harder to bend or move correctly and, even if you feel comfortable exercising in a gym, you may have difficulty finding suitable equipment.
Some exercise machines and weight benches may be too small to use comfortably and securely. When choosing a gym, make sure it offers equipment that can support larger people.
Whatever your size, there are plenty of alternatives to gyms and health clubs. A good first step to exercising is to incorporate more activity into your everyday life.
Gardening, walking to the store, washing the car, sweeping the patio, or pacing while talking on the phone are all easy ways to get moving. Even small activities can add up over the course of a day, especially when you combine them with short periods of scheduled exercise as well.
Cardiovascular Workouts For Overweight People
Weight-bearing activities such as walking, dancing, and climbing stairs use your own body weight as resistance. Start with just a few minutes a day and gradually increase your workout times. Make activities more enjoyable by walking with a dog, dancing with a friend, or climbing stairs to your favorite music.
If you experience pain in your feet or joints when you stand, try nonweight-bearing activities.
Water-based activities such as swimming, aquajogging, or water aerobics place less stress on your feet and joints. Look for special classes at your local health club, YMCA, or swim center where you can exercise with other larger people. Other nonweight-bearing activities include chair exercises (CLICK HERE).
Strength Training Workouts For Overweight People
Many larger people find using an exercise ball is more comfortable than a weight bench. Or you can perform simple strength training exercises in a chair.
If you opt to invest in home exercise equipment, check the weight guidelines and if possible try the equipment out first to make sure it’s a comfortable fit.
While strength training at home, it’s important to ensure you’re maintaining good posture and performing each exercise correctly. Schedule a session with a personal trainer or ask a knowledgeable friend or relative to check your form.
Flexibility Workouts For Overweight People
Gentle yoga or tai chi are great ways to improve flexibility and posture, as well reduce stress and anxiety.
To exercise successfully with limited mobility, illness, or weight problems, start by getting medical clearance. Talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or other health care provider about activities suitable for your medical condition or mobility issue.
Emotional Aspects of Diabetes In Elderly People
Inevitable physical and psychosocial changes occur as people enter old age. The senior years are a developmental phase of life with its own unique challenges that affect the management of both diabetes and depression.
From time to time, we all come down with a case of the blues, but did you know that older adults with diabetes are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression? It’s true. An estimated 28% of older adults with diabetes will experience depression, which is nearly double the average occurrence rate for the general adult population.
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