Diabetes is a condition that continues to grow. Similar to many other health issues, seniors are often the most impacted group. Diabetes treatment can be a challenging routine and require ongoing training. If someone is dealing with diabetes, it is essential to learn about the care they need, while ensuring it is provided.
According to information from the American Diabetes Association, about 9% of the total U.S. population has some form of this disease. Also, in seniors (those over the age of 65) the percentage of cases is even higher, at 25%. Each year, diabetes is a factor in over 252K deaths and costs the American people more than $327 billion. This makes it an even bigger issue that requires serious consideration. By the year 2050, studies have estimated that diabetes cases will grow by up to 165%, with cases in senior men growing by 430% and in women by 270%.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, which is often called juvenile diabetes, can occur at any age. It occurs when the body stops producing sufficient insulin to take glucose from the body’s bloodstream to the cells. Each year, approximately 40K people are diagnosed as being a type 1 diabetic.
The second type is Type 2 diabetes. This condition results in a person’s blood sugar to grow higher than what is considered normal. Eventually, the pancreas is unable to create enough insulin to control levels of blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes requires the individual to use insulin, and type 2 is often treated with a healthy diet and exercise. Many people believe that seniors who struggle to manage their condition could find it beneficial to rely on in home care services.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
A person can develop diabetes at any stage of their life. It is important to find out what the most common symptoms are. According to information provided by Mayo Clinic, some of the most common signs of diabetes include frequent urination, unexplained weight loss even when someone is eating more, feeling extremely thirsty, sores, bruises, or cuts that heal slowly, extreme hunger, blurry vision, and fatigue.
If someone begins to show signs of diabetes, they should consult a healthcare professional, who can then help determine if home health services are needed. Usually, the doctor will conduct a test to determine blood sugar levels for the past few months.
Some older adults may also experience certain complications related to diabetes, such as having to have their lower extremities amputated, renal failure, visual impairment, and myocardial infarction. Seniors are also more likely to have to visit the emergency room to receive treatment for hypoglycemia.
Treatment Options for Diabetes
One of the top issues for seniors who are dealing with diabetes is the type of treatment needed for type 1 and 2 diabetes. That is because these treatments are reliant on routine. This high level of diabetes management requires someone to stay on top of their condition to ensure that the right treatment is given, and the right time, every day. For seniors who find this challenging, home health may be a viable solution.
For someone with type 1 diabetes, their doctor will probably require them to monitor their blood sugar levels as much as four times per day. This is usually done with pinprick blood testing, but may also be done with a continuous glucose monitor, which have become more popular today.
Synthetic insulin is used for treating type 1 diabetes and is typically administered with an injection pen or syringe. A pump about the size of a smartphone may also be attached to the outside of the body with a catheter that connects to an insulin reservoir. The pump is designed to administer smaller insulin doses regularly, or bigger doses when the body requires it.
Treatment for type 2 diabetes will usually require less blood testing; however, careful monitoring is still necessary. Even though some people may still need oral treatment with certain medications, sometimes this is not enough, and insulin treatment is necessary. For less severe cases, it is often possible to manage a person’s diabetes by engaging in regular physical exercise and eating a healthy diet. A healthy diet should include fiber, minerals, and vitamins, low fat (no trans fat), less sugar, lean protein, and enough vegetables and fruit.
Engaging in physical activity is just as important as following a healthy diet because exercise reduces blood sugar. Information from the American Diabetes Association states that individuals should engage in a general daily activity like taking the stairs, flexibility exercises, strength training, and aerobic exercise.
Issues for Seniors
Because all the diabetes treatments are reliant on careful monitoring and routine, it is often hard for seniors to manage the condition. Adhering to a medication schedule is challenging for many older people, especially if they are dealing with conditions like dementia. With the constant monitoring requirements for diabetes and the need for self-administration of insulin injection, it can be difficult to stay on schedule for everyone – including seniors.
Even though exercising more and eat a healthier diet can be difficult. Preparing and eating healthy, fresh meals requires much more preparation than unhealthy, processed foods. Exercise may also be challenging if the senior is dealing with mobility issues. The potential of falls is another consequence that seniors may face when they exercise, and this can lead to serious health issues. A home health aide can provide supervision and assistance to ensure these issues do not occur.
Seeking Help for Diabetes Management
When it comes to managing diabetes, seeking help with the treatment is necessary. This is something that a home health aide can provide help for and ensure that the senior (or people of any age) manage their condition and keep it from getting worse. Keeping the information here in mind is the best way to manage diabetes and handle the condition, regardless of how long someone has dealt with it or the type of diabetes they have.