As people begin to age, their risk for type 2 diabetes increases. According to the American Diabetes Association, one in four people over the age of 60 in the United States have diabetes.
Diabetes is a very serious disease and occurs when a person’s blood glucose level, otherwise known as blood sugar, is too high. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to a stroke or heart attack, among other dangerous health problems. However, these health risks can potentially be avoided if a person receives proper care.
Managing diabetes can be difficult at any age, let alone with an aging loved one. Risks for specific complications increase with age. Learn the ins and outs of proper care to help reduce these risks.
5 Ways to Manage Diabetes:
Healthy eating- The importance of a healthy diet <link> cannot be overstated especially when it comes to living with diabetes. Though there isn’t one specific diabetes diet, it is important for those with the disease to eat high-fiber, low-fat foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Additionally, decreasing the amount of animal products, sweets and refined carbohydrates in their diets is a helpful way to keep blood sugar in check.
Monitor- Monitoring blood sugar is a very important part of a diabetes treatment plan. Make sure that blood sugar levels are checked and recorded throughout the day. Monitoring these levels is one of the most effective ways to ensure that blood sugar remains within the target range that is set by a doctor.
Exercise- Being active and partaking in regular physical activity is important when living with diabetes. Depending on the age of your loved one, regular physical activity may be challenging. It’s best to encourage them to move around as much as they can. If they are physically able to exercise, speak with their health care provider prior to their starting an exercise program. Additionally, since physical activity can lower blood glucose levels, be sure to check their blood sugar before exercising.
Bad habits- If your loved one has diabetes and he or she smokes encourage him or her to try and quit. Smoking can intensify the problems and complications associated with diabetes. It can increase blood-glucose levels and also can constrict blood vessels and increase the risk of kidney and nerve damage as well as the chances of getting foot and leg infections. Quitting smoking isn’t easy. Many times, when a person quits smoking they try to fill the void with food, which can be very dangerous for those with diabetes. Pay attention to the eating patterns of a loved one that is trying to kick the habit.
Medication- In addition to diet, exercise and monitoring, sometimes medications or insulin therapy is needed to manage diabetes. People are prescribed medications for various reasons taking into account their blood sugar levels and other serious health problems. Insulin or other medications should be taken as directed by a physician.
These are just five examples of how to help manage diabetes. Speak with your loved one’s physician to get professional advice and treatment plans on how to properly manage their diabetes.