As we age, we can easily fall victim to illnesses we have managed to avoid for most of our lives. Either because our immune system is weakened or because a lifetime of bad habits has caught up to us.
One of these illnesses that the elderly are susceptible to succumbing to is diabetes. In fact, 25% of adults over 60 years of age have diabetes. Particularly Type 2.
Beating diabetes is no easy feat at any age, but with the right changes to lifestyle and under the careful watch of your doctor, it can be managed as you age. Though many diabetics older than 65 on Medicare are covered for many of the treatments, you may need to make sure to have supplemental insurance like this one from United of Omaha.
The best way forward is to try to prevent it from becoming a problem in the first place. Knowing the signs can mean making changes early enough to reduce the risk of going from prediabetes to actual diabetes.
In this article, we will go over some of those warning signs.
Millions of Americans have prediabetes and probably don’t even realize it. If left untreated, prediabetes becomes Type 2 diabetes and will need a much more thorough treatment to manage it.
Pre Diabetics have higher glucose levels than the average person, but at levels still lower than a diabetic. In addition to the risk of Type 2 diabetes, there is also a greater risk of developing heart attacks or even strokes.
At this point, if your glucose levels are high, there are ways to avoid getting diabetes later on.
It starts with a healthy diet that is low on sugars and processed foods. Then it should be followed up with regular exercise. If you are a smoker, then this is the time to quit.
Your doctor may prescribe some medication to reduce your glucose, as well. You’ll also need to monitor your blood more frequently. At this point, there is no need for any insulin injections.
Signs of diabetes
The only way to be 100% sure if you have diabetes is to get tested. But, before you need to do that you should be on the lookout for these symptoms that may indicate that you are in a high risk group and need to be tested.
Frequent urination – Your kidneys are responsible for flushing out the excess sugar in your blood. As your kidneys work harder to filter out the blood, it leads to more frequent trips to the bathroom. This can be caused by other factors, so keep an eye out for these other symptoms in addition.
Always thirsty – When you are urinating more frequently, it can lead to loss of water in the body. This means that you will often have dry mouth and need to drink more often.
Always hungry – The excess glucose in the system causes people to not get enough energy from the food they eat. This causes the body to compensate by making them feel more hungry so they eat more to gain more energy. This is one of the reasons that many diabetics are also overweight.
Chronic fatigue – There is an excess of sugar in the blood, but diabetes also makes it harder for the glucose to make its way into the body’s cells. This doesn’t give the body the energy it needs from food so a diabetic often feels fatigued.
Wounds are slow to heal – the excess glucose in the system does a lot of damage to nerve endings and blood vessels. As a result, a wound can be slow to heal. Particularly in the extremities as there is less blood that goes to that area as it is.
If a small cut or wound takes weeks to heal then that is a really bad sign and combined with these other symptoms can spell trouble.
How to manage diabetes
If you are physically able to be more active, then changing your diet and staying fit can do a lot to manage your diabetes without the need for insulin. You’ll need to stay on top of your sugar and have your blood tested often.
Others may be either unable to be more active, or their diabetes is serious enough to warrant insulin shots. Either way, a lifestyle change is needed even if insulin shots are also required.
Your doctor will help you come up with a plan based on your physical abilities and needs.