Diabetes and the Elderly

It is well reported that cases of diabetes especially type 2 are drastically on the rise and another growing trend is that more and more elderly people are developing this condition at a certain stage.

Some experts are not entirely certain what has led to an increase in diabetes related cases but whatever the cause; it is essential to deal with the problem effectively so that any further complications can be avoided.

There may be times where it is difficult to establish the presence of diabetes in older people but if you have any suspicions of such a problem then it is important that you seek the relevant medical advice as soon as possible.

Fact: According to figures released by the NHS, the risk of developing diabetes in old age is more likely and a shocking 1 in 20 people aged 65 plus have this condition.

Risk factors for the elderly

As with any condition there are almost certainly going to be a number of risk factors and diabetes in older people is no different. There are a few key points that could see certain individuals being
at more risk than others. These include:

  • One of the most common reasons is that there has been a history of diabetes in the family
  • Women who developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy or that had a baby born over 9lbs (4kg) are at greater risk

Even if you fall into one or maybe both of these categories, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will end up developing diabetes at a later stage, it simply means the chances increase.

Minimising the risk of diabetes for the Elderly

Despite the two risk factors listed above, there are ways of minimising the risk of developing diabetes and the main method is by simply adopting a few lifestyle changes. 

These include:

·  If you smoke then it is recommended that you should stop as soon as possible

·  Work at keeping your blood pressure normal, without going too high or low

·  Keeping your weight at a recommended limit because being overweight is definitely going to increase the risk of diabetes

·  It is important to have a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, amongst other foods

·  A common problem for many is that too much fat and sugar is consumed so it is vital to keep intake of these to a bare minimum

These are the many factors that you should take into consideration and if you start adopting a few of those listed above then this could definitely help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and any problems commonly associated with it.

Diagnosing Diabetes in the elderly

This is something that can be quite difficult without seeking the relevant medical attention and the reason for this is that in cases of diabetes in elderly people, they may not necessarily display the typical symptoms and telltale signs of the condition.

As many thousands of people carry on without the knowledge that they have developed either type 1 or type 2, this could easily be the case with older people as well.

Top tip: If you suspect that an elderly relative has diabetes, it can be difficult to get a firm diagnosis just going on symptoms alone. With this in mind, the best way to solve such a problem is by having a blood test done. For anyone over the age of 40, experts suggest that people should be screened for diabetes every 3 years.

Possible treatment for the Elderly

As with any case of diabetes, it doesn’t matter how young or old a person might be, the treatment required, as well as specific lifestyle changes are almost certainly going to vary and that is why it is best to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

What foods should I consider eating more of?

These are a few of the items that you might want to consider incorporating into your regular diet:

·  Make sure you consume plenty of fruit and vegetables – meeting the recommended 5 a day is going to be ideal

·  Go for foods that have less fat – included saturated, as well as items with low sugar and a little bit of salt

·  Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. In cases of hot weather and during exercising, you will want to increase how much you have.

Other points to consider

The following points are something that anyone with diabetes should definitely consider doing because they are ways which will safeguard people of all ages from further harm.

  • Have regular eye tests. Doing this will lead to any eye problems being detected as early as possible. Retinopathy can occur in cases of diabetes and may lead to blindness in one or both eyes
  • Poor circulation is another well known problem associated with diabetes and therefore it is important to ensure that you check your feet regularly for anything that might cause problems, including bruises and ulcers. If you would prefer to see a foot specialist then they will be able to do the same thing for you and take note of anything that could be a risk factor 

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