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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Diabetes and the Elderly



When people get older, it seems some simple tasks become more difficult, but if you or someone you know has diabetes and is elderly, things can be more of a challenge. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is also referred to as Juvenile Diabetes and is diagnosed in children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and normally is something people who are diagnosed with this type live with for life.
Diabetes in senior citizens can be difficult to diagnose and to take care of. Many of the symptoms of diabetes like weight loss, changes in vision, frequent urination, and thirst can be mistaken as signs of aging. To determine if someone with these symptoms is showing signs of diabetes versus aging, they need to visit their doctor on a regular basis to have tests run.
There are many complications that can occur in senior citizens who have diabetes. Of course these complications can happen to any one of any age, but the elderly are more susceptible to developing these problems. One of these problems is cognitive impairment; diabetes increases the risk of developing dementia and has been well documented. However, the connection of diabetes and Alzheimer's isn't as strong as that with dementia.
Elderly patients who have diabetes also experience problems in mobility during daily tasks. It has been reported that many senior citizens that have this disease have trouble walking more than 400 meters. This is more relevant in elderly women than elderly men. This makes doing normal household chores very difficult and it also increases the chances of falls and hip fractures. One of the treatments of diabetes is to keep moving and to get enough exercise, but for those who have trouble with mobility, this becomes a daunting task and makes it that much more difficult to treat.
The treatment can vary from person to person depending on what form they have and how old they are. However, the common treatments for diabetes involve a change in diet and exercise to help control blood sugar. For some, the easiest way to control their blood sugar is by using an insulin shot or pump. People who have diabetes should take care of their extremities like their feet and hands. Diabetes can affect blood flow and circulation making it difficult for the extremities to receive blood. Exercise can help stimulate blood flow to these body parts.
For the elderly and senior citizens who have diabetes, going to regular doctor visits and getting tests done regularly can help control their blood sugar and diabetes. If you or someone you know is under care of a nurse or is in a nursing home, make sure that whoever is taking care of them knows that they have diabetes and what type it is. Not getting the proper treatment can be disastrous, so making sure that someone with diabetes will be well taken care of is important. If you want to know more about diabetes and how it may affect you or an elderly member of your family, talk to your doctor to get more information.
Sarah Manchester
Senior Care Options
Alzheimer's Care
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