Aging Adults And Diabetes: What You Need To Know

Managing Diabetes as Part of Senior Care

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body processes food, especially sugar. Many seniors have a form of diabetes, which can become serious if it isn’t managed.

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Types of Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. While type 2 is much more common, especially among aging adults, type 1 diabetes can also affect seniors.

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Chronic

  • Unpreventable

  • Diagnosed with a blood test

  • Checked on through regular blood sugar tests

  • May require regular insulin injections or a pump

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Chronic

  • Sometimes preventable

  • Diagnosed with a blood test

  • Checked on through periodic blood sugar tests

  • Often manageable by lifestyle and diet changes; may require medication

About Type 2 Diabetes and Seniors

Symptoms:

  • Feeling tired

  • Being unusually hungry or thirsty

  • Accidental weight loss

  • Frequent urination

  • Blurred vision

  • Skin infections

  • Healing slowly from cuts and bruises

Medical Tests:

Blood tests can diagnose diabetes and sometimes even show signs of prediabetes. Seniors should be screened for diabetes at annual appointments and ask a doctor for blood tests if symptoms develop.

Type 2 Diabetes Management:

  • See a dietician for help with meal planning for a healthier diet

  • Get regular exercise (personal training is often discounted for seniors)

  • Track glucose levels with blood tests as directed by a doctor

  • Lose weight if obesity is contributing to the disease

  • Choose a healthy lifestyle to decrease risks associated with diabetes like stroke (stop smoking, get more sleep, attend annual physical exams)

In some cases, medication is part of type 2 diabetes management. Ask a doctor if any medications could be helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes from worsening. Be sure a senior’s caregiving team is in sync concerning diabetes care to keep blood sugar levels healthy.