Today, almost 1 in every four seniors have diabetes. Aging being a significant driver of this disorder, they are often subject to more troubles than a working-age adult. Risk of institutionalization, reduced functionality, cardiovascular issues, and higher mortality rates are some results of this increasing diabetes amongst seniors.
Diabetes is the condition when their blood sugar levels become too high. This boost in the level of blood sugar or glucose in the body is not sudden but gradual. When we consume food, our body breaks it down into glucose. Insulin, a hormone secreted by pancreatic gland helps transport this glucose to the cells. When you have diabetes, either the production of diabetes in the body slows down, or your body is not able to utilize it properly, or both; gradually leading to high blood sugar.
An Endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in taking care of diabetes.
Diabetes, principally, can be of two types:
- Type 1 Diabetes: This condition occurs when the body starts producing a little or no insulin. Often, this condition is common amongst kids and young adults, older people, can develop it too.
- Type 2 Diabetes: In middle-aged and older people, the insulin is produced, but the body is unable to use it in the right way. Less often than not, this can also affect children. This condition is a result of inactivity, obesity, and heredity.
Avoiding the symptoms of diabetes such as sudden weight-loss, weakening eye-sight, and frequent urge to use the toilet; can have dire consequences. High blood sugar can cause cardiovascular disorders, kidney issues, blindness, nerve damage, and disturb your circulation which might end up in amputation. Cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s disease are no stranger to diabetes either.
Steps for treating Diabetes in seniors
- Screening for Diabetes and Prediabetes
Prediabetes is another condition which is often left undiagnosed and cause the seniors to suffer in the latter years of their lives. It happens when the sugar levels are high in the blood but not high enough to be termed as diabetes.
Research suggests that adults aged less than 45 years who are also over-aged are more likely to be affected by prediabetes. Screening their sugar levels through an FPG test, A1C or an oral glucose tolerance test once every three years at least should be done. This way, the early presence of prediabetes can be detected and acted upon quickly.
Making a healthy change in the lifestyle, i.e., following a workout regimen, eating nutrient-rich diet, and taking a sound sleep can save you from developing diabetes. You can opt for healthy supplements cultured by experts on platforms like Halo Healthcare for better opinion.
- Preventing and delaying Type 2 Diabetes
The primary and secondary preventive measures which can be deployed and their effectivity can only be measured if the traces of diabetes are identified in time through screening.
Simple lifestyle interventions and varying medications can be suggested to patients having or on the verge of developing Type 2 Diabetes. While it is recommended that changes in lifestyle can help the older adults with the reduction in urinary incontinence, protecting them from cardiovascular risks, and improving their quality of life; relatively healthy seniors can only pursue lifestyle interventions. The elders who are suffering from physical or cognitive impairment, often those above 70 years resist these changes.
When it comes to the clinical treatment of Type 2 diabetes in older adults, there isn’t any evidence that includes the prevention in this age group.
However, here are some tried and tested lifestyle interventions to treat diabetes in older adults and their results:
- Glycemic Control
Glycemic Control refers to the regular monitoring of the glucose levels in the patient’s body. It requires assigning the patient the task of maintaining euglycemic blood sugar levels by educating him, devising a goal based strategy, and voluntary control. The primary concern here is to avoid Hyper or Hypoglycemia.
This might not be the best strategy for seniors as it deprives the brain glucose energy to function and can lead to cognitive disorders. Bad eating choices and overmedication are other side-effects of this treatment.
Though, by relaxing the rules of the treatment who are not functionally well the benefits of therapy can overweigh the risks involved.
- Blood Pressure Control
The treatment of hypertension amongst older adults who have diabetes might prove helpful in avoiding cardiovascular contingencies. Then again, the studies were done on seniors who were not limited to but included older adults with diabetes.
Other than the above interventions, the studies conducted by the authorized domains have identified that Lipid Lowering and Aspirin are two more methods of diabetes prevention which might work for seniors who have a life expectancy at least as much as primary and secondary prevention trials.
Being an individualistic disorder, the patients need to be observed as separate entities to decide which treatment would work well on them.