Diabetes is one of the major diseases that affect a large number of elderly people. And it can lead to a wide variety of life-threatening conditions. As such, whether you are living on your own or under home health care in California, you need to properly manage it. Here is how you can better control it and lead a healthy life during your senior years.
The Effects Of Diabetes On Seniors
As you might already know, diabetes is a condition when the body can’t metabolize sugar properly due to low insulin levels. This results in excessive sugar in your bloodstream, which can lead to different health issues. These include heart ailments, stroke, eye problems, and kidney diseases.
Two different kinds of diabetes can affect people.
- Type 1: The body is unable to produce insulin due to an abnormal autoimmune response.
- Type 2: Your body does not make enough insulin or use it adequately.
While both can hit a person at any age, Type 2 diabetes is the more common one that affects middle-aged and elderly people. According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8% of adults 65 years old and above have the disease.
A particular condition that afflicts many seniors is prediabetes. This is when your blood sugar levels are very high but not high enough to be considered a symptom of diabetes. The threshold level is typically between 100 and 125 mg/dl.
If left unchecked, prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes. However, because the condition is often overlooked, a large number of people are unaware that they have it. However, if detected and caught on early, one can delay it from progressing. It is worth noting that certain studies showed that prediabetes in seniors does not always result in diabetes. Nonetheless, it would still be an important consideration when managing sugar levels.
Properly Managing Diabetes In Seniors
Diabetes is considered a progressive disease. This means that, once you have it, there is currently no cure for it. But proper management can lessen the symptoms and reduce the risk of the associated diseases.
One thing to point out this early is that management will require you to do significant lifestyle changes. Here, you would want to look back at your various activities to see what needs to be changed. From there, you and your doctor can develop a management program that will best suit your condition.
As you might already know, poor dietary habits are one of the main contributors to the onset of diabetes. Thus, management of the disease begins by changing your diet. The first thing that you want to do here is to cut down on certain foods, like:
- Fatty foods
- White rice
- Refined cereals
- Deep-fried foods
- Processed meat
These foods contain not just too much sugar and carbohydrates but also other unwanted elements like fats. They can increase the risk of the different diseases linked to diabetes. Replace them with healthier alternatives like fruits, vegetables, fish, and brown rice.
But it isn’t just about what you eat. How much you eat also plays an important role in managing diabetes. The idea here is to control the food serving sizes. That ensures that you would not be going over the recommended amount. For seniors, the recommended daily amounts are as follows.
- Vegetables: 2-3 cups
- Fruits: 1 ½-2 cups
- Grains: 5-8 ounces
- Dairy (fat-free or low-fat): 3 cups
- Protein-rich foods: 5-6 ½ ounces
At the start of following your new meal plan, you might want to measure the amounts precisely. But as you become more accustomed to it, you can do it easily on your own. An effective way to ensure that you are within recommended amounts is by eating small portions during meals.
According to studies, even losing just 5-10% of your current body weight can help get diabetes under control. As such, along with a proper diet, you would want to get plenty of exercises. Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity during the entire week, or around 30 minutes daily for five days.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean heating the gym and going through an intense workout. Seniors can instead opt for light impact exercise routines that suit their bodies. Additionally, even simple activities like walking, cleaning the house, and doing errands can provide you with the physical activity you need.
To make sure that you are reaching your target weight, keep a weight management log. Here, you will list down all the activities that you do daily, including your exercise and diet plans. Additionally, you need to log in your blood sugar throughout the day to see if it is within allowable levels.
Taking Your Medications Diligently
This might seem like a given but many seniors can find it hard to follow through with it. You might have a hard time remembering when you are supposed to be taking these meds. Additionally, you can also end up mixing up your medications.
To avoid this, you or a helper can use pill organizers. With this, the meds are arranged according to the specified schedule. You would also want to set alarms to remind you when it is time to take these medications.
Beyond this, have your doctor regularly review the medication you are taking. Based on your routine checkup, they will determine whether the dosage is still suitable for your condition. From there, they may recommend increasing it or changing the prescriptions altogether.
Reducing Your Stress Levels
As it turns out, stress from daily happenings can significantly affect your blood sugar levels. That can make it harder for seniors to manage their diabetes effectively. Additionally, high-stress levels can aggravate other diabetes-related conditions you might have.
To lower your stress levels, do activities that will take your mind off the situation. This can be something like meditation and yoga routines that help clear your mind off any worries. You can also indulge in hobbies like sewing or solving puzzles. Even keeping a pet (link to pet therapy article) will help you greatly.
Aside from these activities, socializing can help you release some steam. There are various diabetes-oriented senior groups that you can join. Here, you will be able to share stories with other members about your condition. In return, they can provide you with additional tips.
Keep Diabetes Under Controlled Through Home Health Care In California
These strategies will help you not only manage your diabetes but also live fully even with it. but if you still need help, then you can sign up for home health care in California. Amavi can provide you with an expert team of caregivers who will monitor your sugar levels and implement your management plan. Contact us today for free consultations.