Diabetes Prevention and Help for Seniors

Updated 7/29/15 2:56pm | Diabetes is one of the more prevalent chronic diseases among Alert1 seniors. As you age your body may develop complications properly using or producing insulin. Our bodies need insulin to help convert sugar, starches, and other dietary foods into energy.

According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately eight percent of all Americans live with diabetes and approximately one-third of those people cannot detect symptoms of diabetes. Alert1 is here to offer information on diabetes and how to prevent them.

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Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes, can affect adults, but it typically occurs in children. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin. As a result, the body produces little to no insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, can affect children, but it typically occurs in adults. It occurs when your body fails to produce enough insulin or resists its effects; both of these things can also occur at once.

What's the Major Difference between Type 1 and Type 2?

People with type 2 can sometimes delay or halt the progression of diabetes with diet and exercise, especially if it was triggered by excessive body weight. More than 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. If you are one of those people, losing as little as 10% of your body weight can have major benefits.

Studies show that you can prevent developing type 2 diabetes by almost 60% if you maintain a healthy weight and get regular physical activity. You should always consult your doctor before engaging in physical activity, but know that your risk of diabetes will decrease with every pound you lose. Make sure you take your medical alert with you when you're exercising outside the house, so you'll always be protected.

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Symptoms of Diabetes

Family caregivers should reference the following warning signs and symptoms of diabetes:

  • increase in appetite
  • cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • extreme thirst
  • unusual weight loss
  • tender gums
  • a fruity or sweet breath odor
  • frequent urination (or sugar in urine)
  • changes in vision
  • lethargy

The symptoms vary depending on the specific diagnosis of diabetes. With type 1 diabetes, the symptoms usually develop rapidly. With type 2 diabetes, the symptoms can be so slow to develop that people don’t even realize they are sick.

As you can see, diabetes can be quite difficult to realize. But following these diabetes prevention tips will help reduce the chance of your loved ones getting diabetes. This is another reason why it is so important for caregivers to maintain open lines of communication with their loved ones, even if they are providing long distance caregiving support.

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Diabetes Prevention for Seniors

As a family caregiver, you can play a key role in helping your senior prevent diabetes. If they have diabetes, they will need to regularly check their blood sugar and watch for signs of low glucose (hypoglycemia) and high glucose (hyperglycemia). Aside from check ups, here are three key ways to prevent diabetes.

Diet

Your loved one may need to be on a special diet, take oral medication or give themselves insulin injections; in addition you can help your loved one with their blood glucose control.

Although the foods we eat do not directly cause diabetes, they do affect our health and that can lead to diabetes. So helping seniors with their dietary choices will help prevent them from getting diabetes.

Exercise

Exercise should also be a fundamental part of their life because it helps manage blood sugar and minimize the side effects of both types of diabetes.

Encourage your loved one to get moving. They can take daily walks in the park or attend Zumba classes. Making exercise a part of their daily life with help prevent diabetes in the long run.

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Medication

Several types of medications can increase your risk of developing diabetes. If your loved one is already at high-risk for developing diabetes, you may want to review their medications with their doctor.

This Q & A for Seniors and Diabetes may help answer more of your questions, but a doctor can answer all of your questions, as well as test your loved one for both forms of diabetes.

What Causes Diabetes?

The cause of diabetes is still unknown, but, as we get older, our risk of developing it increases. Following these diabetes prevention tips can surely decrease the chance of getting it. If you are an older-adult or a family caregiver, you may want to familiarize yourself with type 2 diabetes because 1 in 4 seniors live with diabetes, aged 65 years or older.

Some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes are totally out of our control. These include age, family history, race, and health history. Fortunately, we can control the risk factors associated with our daily lifestyle. These include weight, activity level, medication, diet, drinking habits, and smoking habits. Gestational diabetes, a third type of diabetes, only affects about 4 percent of pregnant women.

Alert1 Supports the Fight Against Diabetes

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Alert1 knows that diabetes is a life changing disease that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  From November 16 – November 30, 2012, Alert1 will donate $1 for every order placed to The Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation.

Since 1990, Diabetes Action has been committed to the prevention and treatment of diabetes through research and innovation. We know our donations will help find a cure because Diabetes Action uses 96 cents of each dollar on programs and research.

If you are caring for someone living with diabetes, you may want to consider installing a medical alert system. You’ll receive the peace of mind knowing help is always at your loved one’s fingertips.
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Alert1 wants to know: are you or a loved one living with diabetes? Do you have a preferred method of monitoring your blood sugar?

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