Diabetes Risk and Seniors: Do You Know The Symptoms?

Seniors and Diabetes, Diabetes, Assisted Home Care, Respite for Caregivers, Home Care in Bloomington, Home Care in Rosemount, Affordable Home Care, Home Care Services for Seniors“Shirley” was one of our senior care clients who had diabetes.  After a family member incorrectly trimmed her toenails, she suffered a serious infection and needed to have a toe amputated.  While this is not an everyday occurrence, it is one of the potential complications associated with the disease.  Diabetes is a particular concern for seniors since 1 out of every 4 Americans age 65 and older has it.  Fortunately, medication greatly helps those with diabetes to live long, healthy lives, but diagnosis is the first and most important step.

Nearly 26 million Americans live with diabetes, yet 7 million of these people don’t even know they have the blood sugar disease.  To help prevent and diagnose diabetes in all Americans, March 27 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, a call for people nationwide to take the new online Diabetes Risk Test to determine if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90 percent of cases and is on the rise in the United States.

An estimated 79 million—one in three U.S. children and adults—have pre-diabetes, higher than normal blood sugar, which puts them at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.  Generally, diagnosis occurs 7 to 10 years after onset of the disease, leaving many people with debilitating and deadly complications, such as heart and kidney disease, blindness, stroke and amputation.  Often, people with Type 2 diabetes have no symptoms of the disease, but common symptoms can include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue and irritability
  • Frequent infections (particularly skin, gum, or bladder)
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that heal slowly
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands/feet

 

The ADA works to prevent and cure diabetes, and the new Diabetes Risk Test asks basic questions about age, weight, family history, and other potential risks for pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes.  Participants receive preventive tips, and those at high risk are encouraged to talk with their healthcare provider.

Leading risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, sedentary, over the age of 45, and having a family history of diabetes.  Individuals in the following population segments face increased possibility for undiagnosed diabetes:

  • Older Americans—Diabetes risks increases with age.  One out of every four Americans 65 and older has diabetes.
  • Certain ethnic populations including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
  • Women who have had a baby of nine pounds or more at birth.

 

Individuals can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes through:

Maintaining a healthy weight—Losing just 7 percent of body weight (15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) helps control diabetes.

Regular physical activity—Exercise helps lower blood glucose and can decrease the need for insulin or diabetes pills.

Healthy eating—Diabetes.org offers meal and snack guidelines and flavorful recipes for diabetics and those prone to the disease.

 

The ADA’s local offices are working with community organizations to promote Diabetes Alert Day.  In addition to the March 27 event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available in English and Spanish year-round at stopdiabetes.com or by calling 1-800-DIABETES.

Paul Blom, Owner and CEO

 

 

March 14, 2012

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