Managing diabetes: What seniors need to know

By Avera Latest Reply 2009-06-05 12:30:49 -0500
Started 2009-06-03 01:09:08 -0500

This is a very good article. Since not many members read the posted articles, I wanted to make sure that is was available to all. Lots of people read the discussions so I am also posting it here.

**Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. Nearly one in four people 60 years old and older have it. If you are one of them, it's especially important to manage your diabetes well.
Diabetes speeds up the aging process. Physiological changes of aging - such as declines in vision, hearing, and mobility - occur more quickly if you have diabetes. Complications from diabetes can make it harder for you to do your daily activities and stay on top of your diabetes.**

(Recommendations for managing diabetes)
Seniors should do the following to manage their diabetes well:
*Eat a healthy diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and nonfat dairy. Foods high in fat and sugar should be limited.
*Exercise regularly. Exercise can help lower blood sugar levels. Good options for seniors may include walking, armchair exercises, tai chi and swimming. Check with your doctor before you start an exercise program.
*Know your blood glucose levels. Check your blood sugar regularly. Your doctor will tell you what your target blood sugar level should be. Seniors are at greater risk for low blood sugar reactions (hypoglycemia). Work closely with your doctor to keep blood sugar controlled.

(Tips to help seniors manage complications from diabetes)
*See your doctor regularly. Your doctor will answer your questions and tell you how well you are managing your diabetes. Good control can help prevent complications.
*Check your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes.
*Check your blood pressure. High blood pressure levels can also lead to heart disease. The goal for people with diabetes is less than 130/80 mm/Hg.
*Have a yearly eye exam. Seniors with diabetes often develop blindness because they have a high risk for diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration.
*Have a yearly check for protein in the urine. A simple urine test can show if there is protein in the urine. This can be a sign that diabetes is starting to affect the kidneys. If so, treatment can be started to help prevent further damage.
*Check your feet for sores and blisters. People with diabetes have a high risk for foot problems that can lead to infection and amputation. See a foot doctor (podiatrist) regularly and follow his or her instructions for care.
*Take care of your teeth and gums. People with diabetes have a high risk for gum disease. To lower your risk:
Brush your teeth twice a day.
Floss daily.
Go to the dentist twice a year.
*Get a flu shot every year and a pneumonia vaccine when your doctor says to. The flu and pneumonia are dangerous for people with diabetes.
*Get help if you are depressed. Seniors are at high risk for depression related to diabetes. Depression can keep you from taking good care of your health. And it can be treated.

(Other tips to help seniors manage their diabetes treatment)
*Ask your family and friends for help. Bring a family member or friend with you to doctor's appointments so they can learn how to help you monitor your blood sugar and take your medications and what to do in a diabetic emergency.
*Use memory aids, a weekly medication organizer and other tools to help you remember to take your medication. For example, set an alarm that goes off when it's time to take your medication.
*Cut your risk of making a mistake with medication. Ask you doctor about pre-mixed insulin or pre-filled insulin syringes, pens or other helpful tools.
*Set up your home to reduce the risk for falls. Problems with vision, nerves and symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as lightheadedness, can raise your risk for falls. Remove throw rugs, use grab bars in the bathroom and keep walkways clear of objects.
*Use blood sugar monitors that are easy to hold and read. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about blood sugar monitors that have easy-to-read numbers and large dials.
*Work with a dietitian. A dietitian will help you make meal planning easy and affordable.

Joslin Diabetes Center and Joslin Clinic. Guideline for the care of the older adult with diabetes.
National Center for Health Statistics. Fast Stats A to Z. Deaths - leading causes.
National Institute on Aging. Diabetes in older people: A disease you can manage.
American Diabetes Association. Total prevalence of diabetes & pre-diabetes.

7 replies

lipsie 2009-06-05 12:30:49 -0500 Report

Avera,always finding great information.This is great for seniors but others as well…thanks! Sheila

P2putt 2009-06-04 13:36:12 -0500 Report

This was absolutly fantastic,as are all of your offerings,be it receips,health tips or you replies to others concerns. Thank you sooo much. Drop me a line :)Pete

muffin2466 2009-06-03 10:08:19 -0500 Report

Thanks for that page on seniors. My Dr. told me that I had protein in my urine. I asked him what to do and he said to control my sugar better. If you know what kind of treatment is there?

Pauline B
Pauline B 2009-06-03 12:43:28 -0500 Report

I asked the same question as my creatinine levels are above normal, and my diabetes doctor told me to take all my meds as directed, keep my glucose levels within normal limits, exercise, and drink plenty of liquids. I read further, and talked to dietitian friends who basically said the same thing — there isn't anything extra to do except what we're supposed to be be doing anyway, only with more vigor. Since protein metablisim involves kidneys, one would think that protein should be limited, and that worried me as I have trouble with several kinds of anemias and therefore eat more red meat than is usually recommended, but doc said to not limit amount of protein in diet.

But, always follow what YOUR doctor says to do. This is what works for me, and we all know that diabetes and these other diseases of the endrocrine system are so idisyncratic that what works for one doesn't wlways work for another.

cyncyn 2009-06-03 01:47:22 -0500 Report

Thank you Avera.
I printed this, for my mother-in-law! We still can not convince her, how serious this is. She treats this(T2) as if is some common cold that will go away. Maybe this will work! Thanks again.

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