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How Diabetes Affects the Elderly Population

By Edited Feb 1, 2016 0 0

Diabetes mellitus is becoming an increasing problem for the elderly population. In fact, the latest research claims that nearly 50% of people with Type 2 diabetes are now over the age of 60. Diabetes is definitely a serious ailment and it also presents several unique challenges with the elderly. For instance, the symptoms of diabetes including food cravings, increased thirst, as well as frequent urination, are much harder to notice in olders adults compared to the younger population. Additionally, a number of older patients with diabetic issues frequently live on their own and also have to cook meals independently. This can make it more challenging to regulate their diet plan, which is a significant aspect of managing the condition and it's symptoms.

There are numerous well-known risk factors to developing diabetes. Age plays a role, as a person is more prone to getting diabetes the older they get. Other risk factors include things like genealogy and family history, being overweight, as well as high blood pressure (higher than 140/90). Race is another major aspect. Studies have demonstrated that particular races including African-American, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and also Pacific Islanders have a higher risk for becoming diabetic.

As pointed out previously, it is difficult to diagnose diabetes with the elderly since the symptoms (more food cravings, thirsts, and urination) are difficult to detect. Even if the warnings are obvious, the only truly conclusive technique to diagnose diabetes in the elderly are medical tests and patient monitoring. As a result, it's important to maintain regular visits with their physician and to inform their health team of any variations in eating habits or frequency of urination. 

Diabetes is a very serious condition and should not be taken lightly.  It has the potential to impact a number of body parts and systems of your body, and it can result in devastating medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, heart stroke, renal failure, neurological damage, and vision loss. Diabetes can even destroy nerve endings and inhibit your body's capacity to deliver information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body, ultimately results in a condition known as peripheral neuropathy. This shortage of sensation can negatively affects the elderly's capacity to walk and might result in increase risk for falls and fractures. 

Foot care is one of the most significant elements of diabetes management. Peripheral neuropathy hinders the healing process and slows down the body's ability to deliver vital nutrients to the extremities such as the feet.  This creates an environment where even the smallest cut in the feet, if left untreated, can cause serious problems and in some cases amputation. They should be instructed to inspect his or her feet every day and to keep regular appointments with their physician (at least yearly) to evaluate the health of their feet. 

Managing diabetes in the elderly includes a combination of diet, exercising, and pharmacotherapy. The aging adults along with their family should consult a nutritionist to talk about the significance of mealtime planning, counting calories, as well as the effects of sugar and carbohydrates on diabetes. Regular physical exercise should also be suggested because it helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels plus it enhances blood flow, which will help relieve the signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Medications like oral hypoglycemics and insulin shots may also be suggested by the doctor. Elderly patients who have never given themselves insulin shots may feel anxious the first few times but this will fade away with increased practice and repetition.







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