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Diabetes and the Elderly

Diabetes and the Elderly

New Age Care News

Diabetes and the Elderly

Diabetes affects people of all ages but as we age the chances of developing type 2 diabetes increases. This is because as we age our body undergoes numerous changes. Elderly people are also generally less physically active and have impaired glucose regulation. Age-related conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases also often coexist with diabetes.

 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that causes someone’s blood sugar, also called blood glucose, to become too high.

 

Types of diabetes

There are 2 types of diabetes, Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is most common type of diabetes in the UK with over 90% of all diagnoses.

 

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. It is not known what exactly causes type 1 diabetes but it is not linked to age, lifestyle or diet.

 

Type 2 diabetes is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells do not react to insulin properly. There are many different causes of type 2 diabetes but age is an increased risk factor.

 

Challenges faced by elderly diabetics

Elderly people with diabetes face unique challenges that can make managing the disease more difficult. Age-related complications, such as cognitive decline and reduced mobility, can affect an older person’s ability to adhere to a treatment plan, monitor their blood sugar levels, and look after themselves. If an elderly person takes multiple medications, this too can lead to complications and affect glycaemic control. Moreover, social isolation, limited financial resources, and difficulty accessing healthcare services can add additional hurdles for elderly diabetics.

Effective Strategies for Managing Diabetes in the Elderly

Despite the challenges, there are several strategies that can help an older person effectively manage their diabetes. These include:

 

Work with your Healthcare professional

Work with your Doctor or healthcare professional to develop an individual care plan for your diabetes and overall health. Regularly meet with them to discuss how your diabetes is going and make changes if required.

 

Regular monitoring 

Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol to identify trends and take the necessary actions in conjunction with your healthcare professional to maintain optimal health.

 

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and managing your weight will all help control your blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications. 

 

Manage your medication

Work with your healthcare professional to manage your medications. If you are on medications for other conditions, ensure there is no conflict and always ensure you are adhering to your prescribed treatments.

 

Education and self-care

Educate yourself about diabetes, the treatments and how you can help yourself with self-care. Areas to consider include medication administration, healthy meal planning and foot care.

 

Social Support

Participate in support groups, community programs, and social activities to combat feelings of isolation and share experiences with others facing similar challenges.

 

Diabetes poses a significant health challenge for the elderly, but with the right support and strategies, it can be effectively managed. By understanding the unique challenges faced by an older person with diabetes and implementing practical measures to address them, it is possible to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications.

 

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