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Know the Signs of Diabetes in Seniors

Did you know: About 1 in 4 adults over the age of 60 have diabetes? While receiving a diabetes diagnosis may sound scary, consistent management can help your loved one continue to live a full and happy life.

Understanding the signs and symptoms of diabetes now can play a key role in preventing severe health complications later.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a health condition that affects the way an individual’s body processes glucose (blood sugar). For people without diabetes, insulin turns glucose into energy. When the body produces too little insulin or struggles to use it well, the glucose remains in the bloodstream, making it possible for health issues to develop over time.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2?

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are not the same.

For those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little to no insulin. Type 1 usually develops in children or young adults, but people of any age can get it.

For those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, there are two issues that develop: first, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin,the hormone that regulates the movement into your cells; second, the cells struggle to use insulin well. The pancreas’ ability to produce insulin decreases over time. Type 2 generally develops in adulthood.

Both types lead to hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar.

Spotting the Symptoms

The symptoms for both Type 1 and Type 2 are similar. However, symptoms for Type 2 tend to develop slowly over time. Symptoms may include:

  • Frequent thirst. Your loved one may feel thirsty often. This is because their muscles and other tissues are dehydrated. When blood sugar levels rise, the body will pull fluid from surrounding tissue in an effort to dilute the sugar in the bloodstream.

  • Frequent urination. Drinking water excessively can cause your loved one to urinate more. The more they urinate, the more they have to drink. The body is trying to eliminate the excess sugar via urination.

  • Extreme hunger. Food provides fuel. However, when a person is insulin resistant or doesn’t produce enough insulin, the glucose from the food is unable to enter the cells as energy. Low energy signals the body to raise a “hunger flag” in an attempt to get it more food.

  • Blurry vision. High glucose levels can cause fluid to be pulled from the eye’s lens, causing it to swell and develop blurred vision.

  • Fatigue. Low glucose levels lead to low energy levels.

  • Unintentional weight loss. Weight loss is the result of having too little insulin, causing the body to start burning fat and muscle for energy.

In addition to the list above, other symptoms to watch out for include slow-healing sores, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, or changes in mood.

How to Care for Seniors with Diabetes

While there’s no cure for diabetes yet, when caught early, adopting lifestyle changes can slow or stop the progression of the disease.

Managing diabetes may seem like a daunting task, but with the assistance of our Home Care Aides, your loved one can make smart and healthy choices with ease.

Whether it’s preparing well-balanced meals or shopping for healthy snacks, tracking medications, glucose monitoring, or encouraging exercise, our Home Care Aides are ready to help your loved one achieve optimal health.

Contact Us today to learn more.

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