Checking blood sugar levels. Injecting insulin. Carefully watching your diet. If this describes an average day in your life, or that of a senior you love, you know firsthand the obstacles that come with a diagnosis of diabetes. As November is Diabetes Awareness Month, Abby Senior Care is pleased to share the following important information every diabetic – and every member of the family who cares for one – needs to know.
What Does It Mean to Have Diabetes?
Simply speaking, our bodies transform a number of the foods we eat into glucose, which supplies the energy we need – but only if our bodies make enough of the hormone insulin to break down the glucose for our cells to be able to access it. Diabetics’ bodies are either unable to make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), or are not able to utilize the insulin correctly (type 2 diabetes), resulting in an excessive amount of glucose in the blood.
Left untreated, diabetes can bring about serious health problems, such as eye, kidney, and nerve issues, cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as an increased risk for Alzheimer’s or cancer.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
Lots of people with type 2 diabetes have such mild symptoms, or symptoms which come and go, that they do not even realize there is a problem until the disease progresses and symptoms intensify. Signs to watch out for include:
- Increased hunger and/or thirst
- Loss of weight
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Slower healing of bruises and cuts
- Skin infections
It’s essential to consult with your physician if these symptoms become apparent.
Can Diabetes Be Managed?
The good news is, once diagnosed and effectively treated, and with adherence to changes in lifestyle, diabetes can be managed and controlled. For some, modifications to exercise and diet are sufficient, while other individuals require insulin injections and/or medication.
Your physician will put together a diabetes management plan to implement, which can include:
- When and how to track glucose levels
- Which foods to consume and which to avoid
- Exercises and physical activities
- A medication regimen
Strategies to optimize health while managing diabetes include:
- Manage your blood pressure levels and cholesterol, and have them checked on a frequent basis.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Get annual pneumonia and flu vaccines, along with annual kidney and eye exams.
- Check your feet on a daily basis to look for blisters, calluses, red patches, sores, and other skin irregularities, and see a podiatrist with any concerns.
- Keep skin clean, protected, and moisturized.
- Ask your physician for recommendations on cancer screenings, as well as for guidance on any other physical, emotional, or mental health concerns being experienced.
Abby Senior Care, a provider of personal care in Denver, CO and the surrounding areas, can help those with diabetes in a variety of ways, including transportation to medical appointments and procedures, meal planning and preparation in accordance with dietary restrictions, medication reminders, and more. Email or give us a call at 303-699-8840 for a no-cost in-home consultation for more information about our personal care in Denver, CO and the surrounding areas.